|Posted by Brian Dickmann on February 16, 2015 at 8:35 PM|
Keifer Sykes had a rough couple days last week.
Green Bay's star point guard missed a large chunk of the first half after taking an elbow above his left eye from teammate Greg Mays in the team's 63-62 win at Youngstown State last Wednesday night that required stitches.
He was able to return in the 2nd half and ended up hitting the game winning shot with 25 seconds left to put the Phoenix up for good. He finished with 11 points in 27 minutes.
Then, in the Phoenix 63-59 loss at Valparaiso on Friday night, Sykes injured the thumb on his left hand early in the first half. He was largely ineffective in the game, playing 30 minutes before being sat down for good with 3:55 left to play. He scored just 7 points on 2-13 shooting from the floor and just 2-5 from the free throw line.
Not counting the blowout loss at Georgia State earlier this year, Sykes plus/minus (points scored by team minus points allowed by team while player is on the court) of -18 from Friday was his worst of the season.
Still, nobody is doubting his toughness as he was able to play through a bad knee and bad ankle last season before being forced to miss Green Bay's opening round loss to Belmont in the NIT.
So, with the Phoenix facing a must win on Wednesday night at the Resch Center when Detroit comes to town, will Sykes put on his Superman cape and play through pain again?
"He's good," head coach Brian Wardle said Monday night during "Inside Phoenix Basketball" on WNFL. "I think he's day-to-day. He's about 50-50 for Wednesday night. Knowing Keifer, and everybody knows, he's doing everything he can to get himself ready to play and physically ready to go."
Even with missing crucial minutes the past few games, Sykes still ranks 7th in the Horizon League in minutes played.
"He's taken a beating all year," Wardle said. "He's gotten all these defenses...3 to 4 people guarding him at all times. But I know the one thing this young man really wants to do is win another championship in this Horizon League and have a good showing in the conference tournament as a senior."
Green Bay still has a chance to win the regular season championship and host the Horizon League Tournament, but it will require help. Valparaiso leads both Green Bay and Cleveland State by a full game. GB takes on CSU on Friday night at the Resch Center.
"We just have to handle our business and play well down the stretch and see what happens," said Wardle. "Control what you can control."
Sykes health will play a large part in that equation. His 458 points this season represents over a quarter of the Phoenix total offense.
"He's doing everything he can to play Wednesday night," Wardle said. "I would be shocked if he's not on that floor."
Categories: Keifer Sykes