Rob Poole is still trying to “shake” the flu.
It has mostly run its course, actually, but in the meantime, he’s lost 12-13 pounds and has resorted to milkshakes, eggs and other sources of protein to get back to full strength.
Siena will need all the healthy bodies it can get when first-place Niagara comes to town Friday night, having trashed the Saints’ zone defense in an 87-64 win last Thursday night.
The sophomore forward Poole, Siena’s second-leading scorer (12.7 points per game) and rebounding (5.2 rpg), was on a roll until he got sick heading into the second weekend this month.
Among players who have been in the regular rotation all season, he’s Siena’s best three-point shooter, at 40.7 percent.
But he got wiped out by the flu and has missed the last four games, wins over Canisius and Saint Peter’s at home, and the disaster in Buffalo last weekend, when the Saints were outscored by a combined 163-108 in losses to the Purple Eagles and Canisius.
Poole still had a sore throat on Wednesday, but has been back to practice all week and is eager to re-establish the groove he was in before he got sick.
“I’m a little out of shape,” he said. “I was getting a little tired going up and down the court, and the weight might affect me rebounding down low, but I just have to work my way back into it.”
Poole also is worried that he may have lost some of the edge on his outside shot, something he worked hard on to improve during the offseason.
In three of the four games he played before getting sick, Poole was 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) from three-point range and averaged just over 20 ppg.
“I had some confidence, and then got sick,” he said. “The team did great without me. I just have to get my shot back a little bit, get a little confidence, get back in game shape, and then hopefully, I can get back to where I was.”
“He lost some weight, but he looks good in practice,” head coach Mitch Buonaguro said. “We need him. His points are sorely missed. His stats in the MAAC are really good.”
“It’s important to get Robby back,” senior forward O.D. Anosike said. “Obviously, he brings a lot to the team. He’s a high-IQ player who’s really making shots for us and can help a stagnant offense. His shot looks pretty good in practice, and he’ll get back into his rhythm in no time.”
Poole’s return is not the only potential change to the Siena roster for Friday’s game.
Redshirt sophomore Trenity Burdine is back at practice after missing the last six games while on academic suspension.
After taking some makeup exams, he’s waiting for clearance from the school to play again, and that could happen in time for the Niagara game.
“I just have to get my mind right, but I’m happy to be back and want to help my team in any way I can,” he said. “I was playing all right; I could’ve been playing better. I’m trying to come in with the mindset to play hard at all times.”
On the injury front, starting guard Rakeem Brookins has not practiced this week with back spasms lingering from last weekend’s Buffalo trip, but he said he’ll practice today and play on Friday.
Freshman shooting guard Ryan Oliver made the Buffalo trip, but did not play with a sprain to his surgically repaired knee.
He hasn’t practiced, and it’s questionable whether he’ll be available.
Starting center Imoh Silas missed Wednesday’s practice with a sore ankle after stepping on the foot of teammate Evan Hymes during practice in Tuesday.