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Oklahoma basketball: Add Je'lon Hornbeak to the list of Sooners who wear a mouth guard

Wearing a mouth guard isn't uncommon in college basketball, though it isn't mandatory. After chipping two teeth in the Sooners' win over Baylor on Saturday, Je'lon Hornbeak will likely be taking his grandmother's advice to wear one.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Published: February 24, 2013

Je'lon Hornbeak got his braces off in seventh grade.

Since that day, his grandmother asked him to wear a mouthpiece and worried when he didn't. They paid “too much money for those teeth” for Hornbeak to chip or lose one in a basketball game.

Then, during OU's 90-76 win over Baylor on Saturday, with his grandmother watching in the stands, Hornbeak's feet got entangled with one of Baylor's reserves.

“I tried to break the fall with my teeth,” Hornbeak said with good nature after Oklahoma's ninth conference victory.

Hornbeak's spill resulted in a trip to the dentist Saturday evening, where he got his two chipped teeth fixed — he posted a picture of his freshly repaired pearly whites on Instagram later.

After his spill Saturday, Hornbeak will be added to a small list of Oklahoma basketball players who will have a mouth guard.

But that doesn't mean he'll wear it.

Wearing a mouth guard isn't uncommon in college basketball. While it is mandatory in college football, there are not similar rules for college hoops — although Oklahoma athletics trainer Alex Brown does strongly encourage it.

Both starting forwards Amath M'Baye and Romero Osby have a mouth guard. So does Andrew Fitzgerald, Ryan Spangler and Buddy Hield, according to Brown. But just because they have them doesn't mean they wear them in practice and games — or keep them in their mouths.

“Buddy wore one once he got braces,” Brown said. “The problem was he played with it so much it'd be in his hand when he was supposed to be handling the ball.”

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