This one isn't rumor: Truck Bryant, in what is being called a "freak accident" in practice today -- though it's possible the injury occured during the Missouri game -- has broken the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot and will miss the remainder of the season.
At a position as thin as point guard, you never want to lose a body. No two ways around it, Truck will be missed. Coach Bob Huggins, in a somewhat unusually optimistic mood, had this to say:
"It hurts our depth a little bit," West Virginia coach Bob Huggins told ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil on Tuesday night. "But Joe is ready. He's been playing really well for us. He shot the ball really well in practice and in the games. He'll be fine."
Beyond depth for depth's sake, we have a few major issues to worry about:
- The health of Joe Mazzulla. By all accounts, his shoulder is healed and is not a lingering problem. That theory will be tested severely, considering the increased minutes headed his direction in the coming games.
- Keeping Mazzulla out of foul trouble. With no point guard on our bench, this is an absolute must. In what has become a staple of Joe's game, the attempted charge may not be the best strategy in the coming game(s). Even if he has firmly established position, all it takes is a referee with a slight difference of opinion to force him to the bench for extended periods of time. Mazzulla must avoid fouls at all costs.
- The performance of our point forwards. Again, without another point guard on the bench, both Devin Ebanks and Da'Sean Butler will see their ball handling duties to dramatically increase. Mazzulla can't play 40 minutes, so these two must deputize in his absence. Both have shown they are capable of doing exactly that, but when the stakes are this high, the element of doubt starts to rear its ugly head. We must protect the basketball, because at this stage of the tournament, the teams will punish careless mistakes swiftly.
It will be no easy task to accomplish the three objectives listed above, but by no means will it be impossible. This team is talented and dedicated enough to see this season through to a successful conclusion, and I have little doubt that we will see a great product on the court come Thursday. Let's just hope the team can rally and overcome what could be a major obstacle for the quest for a National Championship.