What was speculated last night is now official. In separate releases, Virginia Tech has announced sophomore forward Cadarian Raines and senior guard Dorenzo Hudson will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season. Both are eligible to receive medical redshirts this season, meaning Hudson will be able to play next year.
Raines has been hobbled by a foot injury he suffered last year had surgery on in the offseason. He was relatively ineffective in the four games he had appeared in this season. Hudson's foot injury is also from last season. It caused him to get out of shape during the offseason according to Seth Greenberg and contributed to his slow start to the season.
Both are big blows for the Hokies, who are already hobbled by injuries. Tech is down to 10 total players, nine on scholarship. They join forwards Allan Chaney and J.T. Thompson, who were previously ruled out for the season.
Raines' injury only reinforces Tech's lack of depth in the frontcourt. He was unable to play in most of its game this year, putting pressure on Jeff Allen and Victor Davila to stay out of foul trouble. The Hokies have been forced to play a lot of zone when those two have to have their minutes limited.
Hudson's injury means the Hokies will need Erick Green and Tyrone Garland to progress quickly. Green has been inconsistent, but has shown promise as a point guard. Garland is still very young, but he looks like he's going to eventually become a capable guard.
Earlier this year we talked about how ugly the Hokies have played out of necessity. Well, it's about to get uglier. With such a short bench, Tech can't afford to get into a track meet with anyone. Look for Tech to play a painfully slow pace this year and throw even more zone defense at their opponents.
Can the Hokies still make the NCAA Tournament without Raines and Hudson? Sure they can. It's not like either of them were making a huge impact this year. Tech doesn't suddenly become much worse than they were before the injuries. However, the depth issue will become magnified during ACC play.
The ACC is pretty terrible this year and there are plenty of winnable games remaining on Tech's schedule. My prediction is they'll find themselves on the bubble again this year and we'll be counting bids during Championship Week. Whether Tech makes the newly expanded tournament will depend on the strength of the teams on the bubble and how the Hokies compare to them. The goals for this season haven't changed.
And if anything, the injuries to Raines and Hudson make the Hokies a better contender in 2011-12. Josh's post linked above details what next year's team will look like with the addition of Hudson as a fifth-year senior.