CARBONDALE — Guard Eric McGill hurt a bone in his left hand, SIU men's basketball coach Barry Hinson said Monday, and will miss at least the rest of the week.
McGill, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior from Panola (Texas) College, was injured when he drove across the lane Sunday against Lamar and fell to the floor after toppling over a defender. He left the court holding his hand, and X-rays showed bad news, Hinson said, but he stopped short of saying McGill had a fracture or break. Hinson said he was unsure how long McGill may be out, as the medical staff was waiting for the swelling in his hand to go down.
"It is an injury that we are very concerned about. His hand swelled up the size of a grapefruit (Monday) morning," Hinson said. "We can't tell much until we get the swelling down, but he's not going to play for quite some time."
McGill has played in all 10 games for the Salukis (6-4) this season, all off the bench, and has scored 50 points. Senior Tyler Smithpeters, as he did Sunday in SIU's 71-61 win over Lamar, could fill in some of McGill's minutes when the Salukis play North Carolina A&T (6-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Redshirt freshman guard Brendon Gooch, who hasn't played in the last four games, could also see some time moving forward, Hinson said.
Hinson also said the team X-rayed starting point guard Marcus Bartley and starting center Kavion Pippen's hands after the game Sunday, but doesn't believe they will miss Tuesday night's game. Starting guard/forward Armon Fletcher left the game early after a Lamar player banged into the side of his knee and did not return, but Fletcher said Monday he was good to go against the Aggies.
The 6-5, 207-pound junior guard/forward has scored 36 points in two games as SIU's starting hybrid forward. Fletcher made 5 of 8 from the field Sunday against Lamar and 7 of 14 in the Salukis' 18-point win over Jackson State Wednesday night. Banging with the bigs down low early has allowed Fletcher to get closer looks at the bucket, and get into the rhythm of the game sooner than before, he said.
"I talked to the coaches and told them working inside-out will help me get my points in transition, give me that confidence just to have that feel for the game," he said. "Getting a layup early, and then transitioning out to the wing."
SIU plays in Las Vegas against Nevada on Friday and Duquesne on Saturday as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. The Salukis then open Missouri Valley Conference play at Northern Iowa on Dec. 28.
SIU has been without starting forward Thik Bol, a second team all-conference preseason pick, all season because of a knee injury. The Salukis also lost Bartley for the first six games with a broken bone in his wrist. Bol is currently rehabbing his injured knee, and is projected to start practicing with the team Dec. 28. It is unknown when he may actually return to the court.