Nov. 27, 2012
|WASHINGTON vs. SAINT LOUIS
Wednesday, Nov. 28 | 9:00 pm (PT) | Alaska Airlines Arena
Live Stats | TV: Pac-12 Network | Radio: KJR (Affiliates)
By Gregg Bell - UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE -- Scott Suggs shuffled on crutches from the Huskies' locker room to their training room. A walking boot still encased the badly sprained arch tendon in his right foot.
Shawn Kemp Jr. came out of that training room a few minutes later looking relatively buoyant. He walked with an easy, even stride that showed he is progressing well from his torn patella tendon.
The news on Washington's two key components matched their looks on Tuesday.
Coach Lorenzo Romar confirmed Suggs will not play again Wednesday when UW (2-3) hosts similarly depleted Saint Louis (3-2) at 9 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks television, the Washington IMG College radio network and here on GoHuskies.com with the exclusive game chat.
Romar said his senior co-captain, outside shooter and veteran defender is on a "week-to-week" status with the foot injury that caused him to miss last weekend's loss to Colorado State.
Suggs had a broken foot at this time last November, when Washington lost big at Saint Louis. Romar and his staff scheduled that game and Wednesday's return match so the native of Washington, Mo., could play at home.
"If they would have said, `Would you have scheduled Saint Louis home and home (knowing Suggs wouldn't play)?' I'd have said, `No," Romar said of the rugged, talented Billikens, whom he coached before arriving at UW in 2002.
As for Kemp, Romar now thinks his power forward could be back next month, before Pac-12 play begins. The coach had earlier estimated Kemp may not return until January. The sophomore's knee bothered him this summer prior to it shutting him down before the regular season began 2½ weeks ago.
Until they return Washington, which has lost two straight non-conference home games for the first time since December 2000, will try to stay afloat.
"Shawn Kemp Jr. is potentially our best low-post scorer. Scott Suggs is one of our top three scorers. We're talking 20 to 25 more points per game if those guys play," Romar said.
The coach thinks their returns would indirectly help rebounding problems that surfaced Sunday against Colorado State. The big, veteran Rams out-rebounded the Huskies 45-21 and had a 22-8 advantage in second-chance points while beating Washington 73-55.
Suggs and Kemp returning would bolster currently UW's depleted depth and allow Romar to return to normal substitution patterns. That could mean less fatigue and thus, he reasons, better rebounding.
Even after his injured cogs return, Romar said the Huskies will be playing more zone than it has in the first five games. He feels that fits this longer, taller team better than his previous ones that relied more on man-to-man defense.
Playing zone is generally considered to hurt a team's rebounding, because players get areas to box out rather than specific players assigned to them defensively. While acknowledging that, Romar said more zones may get his players, specifically his guards, closer to the rim and thus in better position to rebound.
The Billikens come to Seattle missing two guards to injuries, including senior All-Atlantic-10 selection Kwamain Mitchell. Mitchell had 18 points, four steals, three assists and no turnovers last November when Saint Louis beat UW 77-64 in a game that wasn't that close.
Even though it's still only November, it's not too early in the season to call this a pivotal game in the Huskies' 2012-13 season. It will help determine if they turn around their non-conference season. UW plays its next seven games in Seattle.
"No, it's a good point. Especially with what this team did to us last year, we've been looking forward to this game for a while," said C.J. Wilcox, the Huskies' leading scorer at 18 points per game following his career-high 28 Sunday.
Wilcox and Romar both said the junior sharpshooter is fine for Wednesday's game after a hard fall Sunday. Wilcox bruised the point where the spine and tailbone meet. He got treatment immediately after Sunday's game. He returned to practice Monday and felt sore, then better after he began moving more.
"I'm fine," Wilcox said.
Wednesday's game will determine whether all the humbled Huskies can say the same thing.