If you watched Oprah Winfrey’s big interview with Lance Armstrong on Thursday night, it began with a series of yes/no questions in which Armstrong finally admitted using performance enhancing drugs in all seven of his Tour de France wins.
At the exact same time as the Oprah/Lance interview aired on TV, I was asking Mick Cronin a few yes/no questions on his radio show about Cashmere Wright’s knee injury and status for the Marquette game.
Question: Will Cashmere play on Saturday night?
Coach Cronin: He’s day-to-day. That’s my status by the way. That’s the life of a coach – day-to-day.
Question: Did Cashmere have an MRI on Wednesday?
Coach Cronin: Yes.
Question: Is there any structural damage?
Coach Cronin: No.
The fact that there is no structural damage is the key piece of information. Let’s face it, when Wright was helped off the court in agony on Tuesday after scoring 20 points and dishing out 7 assists in just 22 minutes of playing time, it was impossible not to fear the worst.
“He was headed for an easy 30 (points) and 10 assists which is complete domination of a game,” said Cronin. “You don’t want to see him – or any player – go down, but especially him after what he’s been through. And then factor in that he’s playing the best basketball of his career. For him, (a serious injury) would be tragic, so it was great news that his MRI was negative.”
Ironically, Wright’s most recent injury was to his “good knee.” He’s had three surgical procedures on his left knee after tearing his ACL as a freshman, but sprained his right knee against DePaul. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Cashmere to realize that it wasn’t as serious as his previous injuries.
“He went out at the 15:20 mark, and at the next time-out, I look up and he’s standing in the huddle and he’s giving me the eye like he wants to go back in the game,” said Cronin. “I would say that it scared him more than anything.”
To make matters worse, Wright was not the only Bearcat to suffer an injury in the game. In the first half, Justin Jackson was taken to the locker room with an injured wrist. X-rays were negative and Jackson returned to action with his wrist heavily taped.
Wright and Jackson did not do much at practice on Thursday and Cronin says he’ll be cautious in determining if either player will be allowed to take court the court on Saturday.
“It’s a long year and we have a lot of games left,” said Cronin. “Hopefully, we’ll have a lot of games in March, so I can tell you that I’m not going to take a risk now for no reason.
“(Cashmere) probably wouldn’t have practiced much anyway to be honest with you. From here on out with our major minute guys, we don’t need to practice a whole lot. Full-speed practice is not much more than an hour, the rest of it would be teaching points, scouting report, shooting, and individual work. That’s something that I believe in a lot, and obviously with Cashmere, he’s had some injuries.
“It’s a little bit different with Justin. He’s got a sprained wrist and he’s stiff. He’s another veteran guy that doesn’t need a lot of practice. So we’ll see how he feels. It’s his right wrist so that’s an issue for free throws, not that he’s shooting a lot of jump shots. But again, you’re not going to risk March for January.”
Since Jackson was able to return to the court after his wrist injury on Tuesday, it seems logical to expect him to play against Marquette.
As for Wright, Coach Cronin loves to quote the end of Rambo: First Blood Part II when Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) tries to comfort John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) before Stallone’s character walks off into the distance as the credits roll.
Colonel Trautman: How will you live John?
Cronin told reporters that he was “Bill Belichick-ing” them – or not saying much – on all injury-related questions on Thursday, but it appears that Wright’s status is truly TBA for the upcoming games against Marquette and Syracuse.
“We’ll see how he feels on Friday…and Saturday…and Sunday,” said Cronin. “Seriously, I’m not trying to be funny, he is day-to-day.”
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