The locker room of the University at Albany men’s basketball team is looking more like a hospital ward lately.
When the Great Danes host Binghamton in tonight’s America East Conference game at SEFCU Arena, they will be far from 100 percent, health-wise front.
“We’ve been going week-to-week and day-to-day,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown, whose team got back late from Orono, Me., Saturday, and then basically had a walk-through practice session on Sunday.
“We’re really banged up right now. We’re just trying to stay healthy. It’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
Brown said the injury bug has bitten most of his key players. Junior forward Sam Rowley, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.1 points per game, as well as its top rebounder (6.3 rpg), not only fractured his right wrist, but also has two deep bone bruises.
“It got pretty bad the other night, because Sam couldn’t shoot free throws, and I had to take him out of the game,” said Brown. “Luckily, he uses his left hand a lot, but he needs his right hand to shoot free throws.
“As far as the bruises are concerned, the doctors said it might have been better if he broke a bone, because there is nothing they can do for the bruises.”
Top scorer Peter Hooley (15.4 ppg) is bothered by knee contusions and sat out the UMass-Lowell game.
“He’s only about 70 percent because he has limited lateral movements,” Brown said. “Peter kept texting me the night before the Maine game, asking me if he could play. I told him to stop texting me so I could get to bed. We ended up playing him, and he was 12-for-12 from the line. We really needed that from him in that game.”
The injury list doesn’t stop there. Senior center John Puk has a sprained MCL in his knee, and is wearing a special brace. He is listed as day-to-day, based on his pain tolerance.
That’s three starters who are ailing.
Reserve forward Luke Devlin is out with an assortment of injuries, including a bad back, while Dallas Ennema has just been cleared to play following an ankle sprain. Guard
Anthony Odunsi, a defensive specialist, is out for the year due to complications from a concussion, while senior forward Gary Johnson, the hero of Saturday’s win over Maine with a career-high 28 points, is also recovered from a recent concussion.
“I’ve had some key players injured, and out for the season, but I’ve never had a week like this, when I’ve lost so many players at the same time,” said Brown.
“The injuries have younger players like Mike Rowley and Ede Egharevba more playing time, but we need to have Sam Rowley and Peter Hooley back at full strength, because our whole team this year goes through them.”
Senior point guard DJ Evans (11.3 ppg) and Johnson (10.0 ppg) are the other double-digit scorers for the 3-2, 9-9 Great Danes.
Binghamton (1-3, 3-14) is paced by Yosef Yacob and Jordan Reed, who are averaging 13 ppg and 11.3 ppg, respectively, in conference play.