Saturday, November 24, 2012

R.J. Evans' Injury a Tough Blow for UConn

R.J. Evans suffered a sterno-clavicular (collar bone) sprain in practice on Thursday and will likely be out for at least a couple of weeks. Nothing’s broken, which means he won't likely be out for six weeks or so, which is obviously good news for UConn.

Still, this is a tough blow for the Huskies. Evans is averaging 5.8 points off the bench, but his contributions go beyond the stats. He gives the Huskies hustle and hard-nosed play, always the most likely to dive for (and come up with) a loose ball, always one to mix things up physically. He’s the proverbial “glue” player for UConn, and while he’ll be back at some point this season, his absence will be greatly missed.

“Everybody’s gotta step up," said coach Kevin Ollie. "He’s doing a lot of key things for us that don’t show up in the stats. You can’t be R.J., but you can be yourself, grow and evolved. There are going to be some roles that are going to be different. Omar’s going to have to play some point if one of the guys get hurt or in foul trouble.”

Ryan Boatright echoed those sentiments:

“Me and Bazz are going to have to rebound a little more, somebody else is going to have to step up scoring. It’s got to be a collective effort, because he does so much. Everybody’s got to step up.”
And here's what Shabazz Napier had to say:

*** Leon Tolksdorf, who has played sparingly thus far, also suffered a mild left knee sprain and will miss the Stony Brook game.

*** After beating Tom Moore’s Quinnipiac squad in double-OT in St. Thomas Sunday night, the Huskies will look to go 17-0 all-time against former Jim Calhoun assistants when they face Steve Pikiell’s Stony Brook Seawolves on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Pikiell played at UConn from 1987-91 and was a two-time captain. After graduating, he spent one season as Jim Calhoun’s assistant before playing for the New Haven Skyhawks for a season, then joining Yale’s staff as an assistant.

He has other ties to UConn’s current staff: Pikiell was an assistant on Karl Hobbs’ staff at George Washington for four seasons.

*** The 4-1 Seawolves, for some reason, played Cainisius on Saturday (winning the game, 82-75), so they’ll be playing their second game in as many days on Sunday at Gampel.

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