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A team which could ill-afford an injury, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team is now dealing with such a circumstance, as in addition to their befuddling loss to Georgia Southern Saturday, the Hokies will now be without freshman forward Marshall Wood after he suffered a fractured left foot in the game. For more on the injury and its impact, keep reading below.
The injury was first reported on Twitter by Roanoke Times Virginia Tech beat writer Mark Berman:
Dang. I didn't think yesterday's game could have gotten worse. I was wrong. #Hokies— Clark Ruhland (@Hokie20) December 16, 2012
The Washington Times' Patrick Stevens tweeted these poignant notes about Wood and his role on the team:
Virginia Tech announces freshman forward Marshall Wood has a broken left foot. Was playing 18.3 minutes per game for the short-handed Hokies— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) December 16, 2012
The single biggest question about Virginia Tech hoops for this season was always sheer manpower. Task just got a bit tougher.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) December 16, 2012
But according to Berman, it is not all bad news regarding the injury:
Wood doesn't need surgery, but not yet known how many games he will miss. #Hokies down to 7 scholarship players— Mark Berman (@BermanRoanoke) December 16, 2012
Er, until Gobbler Country's resident Medical Advisor (a newly appointed position might I add) TrevorSGreene relayed this information via Twitter:
A broken foot usually take close to 2 months to recover, depending on the severity of the injury. Tough for Wood.— Trevor (@TrevorSGreene) December 16, 2012
So basically, we can take away that Wood is injured fairly seriously, but for an undetermined amount of time. It's good that the injury won't require surgery, but I don't think that necessarily improves his prognosis as far as time missed. According to the school's press release, he is expected to return this season though. Here's the official press release from Hokiesports.com.
Wood was averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game this season He was shooting 31% from the field, 18% from 3-point range and 72% from the foul line. He was fourth on the team in rebounding and sixth in both minutes and points. He is also tied for fifth on the team with 7 blocks.
Wood's injury throws the Hokies' rotation into a state of flux, and it's not exactly clear what measures James Johnson will take to remedy his absence. Berman suggested these two possibilities:
With Wood out, what happens when Barksdale needs breather or in foul trouble? I guess iEddie moves to the 4 spot or walk-on Beyer is used— Mark Berman (@BermanRoanoke) December 16, 2012
Those are probably the two most likely possibilities in order, but a third possibility exists as well. With the significant time walk-on guards have seen this year, it is possible that we will see Johnson field a small lineup when the bigs need breaks or are in foul trouble, something the Hokies have shown already. That lineup would consist of one of the walk-on guards (Johnson, Patrick or Racer) along with Rankin and Green, with either Brown or Eddie manning the forward position and one big in the lineup.
None of these options are desirable, but that is just the reality of the situation they are in right now. Despite great early returns, the team has struggled over the past three games, proving it won't be easy. The question is, can this team weather the storm without a player at a position that was previously thought the Hokies could ill-afford to lose. The answer is not clear, and it may not be immediate, but what is clear is that the Hokies will certainly miss Wood's toughness and hard work for however long he is out.
For more on Wood's injury and the Virginia Tech basketball team, stay tuned to Gobbler Country, your leading Virginia Tech sports source.