Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Sophomore guard Bones Hyland is ruled out for Tuesday’s game against Saint Louis after suffering a foot sprain on Saturday against George Mason, coach Mike Rhodes said.
Hyland, whose foot got stuck under him when he was on defense, exited the George Mason game in the second half and did not return.
“He did a good job over the weekend doing what the doctors and trainer wanted him to do, but he’s got some work ahead of him,” Rhoades said of Hyland’s recovery.
After X-rays and MRI results both came back negative, Rhoades ruled Hyland “day-to-day” with the injury.
Rhoades called the situation a “next man up” opportunity, similar to last season when Hyland played in place of Marcus Evans, who was dealing with a knee injury.
“When somebody goes down … other guys in different ways got to step up,” Rhoades said. “Not one guy is just going to improve their scoring by 20 points, but a guy here doing a couple more things, a guy here stepping up. Together, you fill that void.”
Junior forward Vince Williams and freshman forward Jamir Watkins are expected to do more ball handling, Rhoades said.
“They’re capable of doing it, they’re just getting thrown in the fire in that sense of it,” Rhoades said. “They’re going to play more, and they’re going to have to do more with the ball in their hands.”
Williams has started the past 17 games for the black and gold and has appeared in all 21. Watkins has played more over the last four games, logging a career-high 21 minutes twice, including against George Mason.
Freshman guard Ace Baldwin’s minutes are expected to increase, Rhoades said. As the primary ball handler for most of the season, Baldwin averages 27.8 minutes. He’s logged at least 37 minutes in each of the past three games.
“Ace can step up by being a great quarterback out there all the time,” Rhoades said. “Steadying the ship all the time. If the other team goes on a 4-0 or 6-0 run, we don’t panic — he’s got to lead the way with that.”
Although Hyland won’t play against Saint Louis, his impact will be felt. Hyland’s experience in stepping up this past year will be useful for players filling in on Tuesday, Rhoades said.
“Be a great teammate, have a great voice, bring joy to your teammates and have their backs,” Rhoades said. “That’s a great resource for our guys.”
The Rams will host Saint Louis on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.