The season could be over for two Saluki basketball players.
Sophomore forward Davante Drinkard is suffering from a stress fracture in his foot while freshman guard Josh Swan has shin splints.
Neither player has played since Jan. 24, and coach Chris Lowery said the coaching staff won’t rush them back onto the court.
“We’re not going to just try and (re)injure them just to play in a game,” Lowery said. “As a parent, I wouldn’t do that, and I think that’s the most important thing, (and the) way to look at treating those guys.”
Swan said he suffered his stress fracture sometime before the Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22, but it didn’t bother him enough to tell the trainers.
“It was one of those injuries where it kind of hurts, but it’s not bad enough to where you (couldn’t) play,” Swan said. “I didn’t want to sit out any games or miss any practices.”
Swan’s playing time fluctuated throughout the season as he averaged 27.8 minutes per game in the first six games, then nine minutes per game in the next four games between Dec. 17-23, which was right around the time Swan said he first injured his leg.
Between Dec. 25 and Jan. 24, Swan averaged 16.9 minutes per game. He said Lowery started to notice the injury when the Salukis played Missouri State Jan. 10, where Swan missed the only shot he took in 14 minutes of play, and his injury got progressively worse leading up to his last game against Bradley Jan. 24.
“It (hurt) so much that I couldn’t even move on it. I was slow, and trying to cut on it, it just felt terrible,” Swan said. “I told the trainers, and we got it checked out, and they told me it was a stress fracture.”
Drinkard said he also wasn’t sure when the injury to his foot occurred, but the trainers recognized it after the Jan. 24 game against Bradley.
“I had been hurting for a while, and the pain just got worse after the Bradley game,” Drinkard said. “After the Bradley game, I couldn’t even practice anymore.”
Drinkard was on crutches until a few days ago, but even though he said he’s able to walk around just fine, he wouldn’t be able to play tonight against Creighton.
“Trying to play on it right now would kill me. I still can’t run or jump on it,” Drinkard said.
Drinkard said he could be back for Saturday’s game against Ball State, and if not, he’ll definitely be ready for the Feb. 22 game against Drake. However, Lowery said he’s reluctant to play anybody who says they’re healthy after Bryan Mullins’ stress fracture in 2008 didn’t heal properly, prematurely ending his season the following year.
“We learned our lesson from Bryan Mullins,” Lowery said. “Listening to players when they have injuries like that, they’re always going to make the argument that they can play, and we hurt him both years.”
Drinkard said he would be fine with the decision if Lowery decided to keep him out for the rest of the season, while Swan said he already knows his injury will keep him off the court this season.
“I just have to go along with it. That’s their decision; they’re the ones in charge,” Drinkard said.