When Siena guard Marquis Wright finally gets back on the court after returning from a stress fracture in his right foot suffered the day after Christmas, all his coach Jimmy Patsos expects of him is to be Peyton Manning.
No, not the all-world Peyton Manning who set reams of NFL records. Rather, Patsos wants Wright to be the Manning of 2015-16, who came back from injury and led the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title by doing what he was able to do while providing leadership.
“I don’t think he is going to be MVP . . . I don’t need him to be that,” Patsos said Tuesday of his star guard. “I just need him to play.”
Wright is slated to officially return to practice today. If all goes well, he will see his first game action in exactly two months Feb. 22 against Iona at Times Union Center. The Saints would then have two more regular-season games before the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
Wright, averaging 17.3 points, 4.6 assists, 4.9 rebounds and a whopping 37.6 minutes per game in the 12 he played this season for Siena (9-5, 16-9), has been suiting up for practice the past week. But as the rest of the team hit the court, he has retreated to the sidelines, often under the watchful eye of head athletic trainer Greg Dashnaw.
“It’s about that time,” Wright said of getting back to playing. “It was hard the whole time. And getting closer, it got even harder, knowing it was so close. I want to hurry up. It was hard to watch.
“I felt like I could go, but then again, I’m still listening to the doctors. They know more than me, even though I know my own body.”
Wright said being on the bench and watching has given him a fresh perspective.
“I can see why people get yelled at — loose balls and rebounding are key,” he said. That later got a knowing nod and smile out of his coach.
“He played [nearly] 39 minutes a game,” Patsos said. “Now he’s not playing any. He’s taking in a lot.”
What role Wright will assume on his return to the lineup could be determined today. Patsos said the junior will have a say in that decision.
“Whatever he wants to do. I haven’t decided yet,” Patsos said. “I will talk to Marquis [today]: ‘Tell me what you think you should do: Should you start? Should you come off the bench? Should you play 15 minutes? Should you play 25? Should you take a lot of shots? Should you not take any?’
“I’m going to have a discussion with him because I think he has earned a right to have a discussion,” Patsos added.
Brett Bisping (illness) and Javion Ogunyemi (back) did not practice Tuesday. . . . Siena’s next game is against Canisius at 7 p.m. Thursday at Times Union Center. The Saints beat The Golden Griffins 99-78 on Jan. 24 as part of a sweep of its Western New York swing; they beat Niagara two days later 82-70. . . . Many long-time Siena staffers recalled Dr. Joseph Marotta, the team doctor at the college from 1993-2012. Marotta died suddenly Monday night at age 57.