N.C. State played the final 30 minutes of Tuesdays loss at Virginia without point guard Lorenzo Brown. The Wolfpack might have to learn how to play without Brown, who injured his left ankle against Virginia, even longer.
Brown wore a walking boot to class on Wednesday, N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said on his weekly radio show, and his status for Saturdays game with first-place Miami is still up in the air.
He was limping pretty good (Wednesday), which was not a good sign, Gottfried said on the show. But were just going to work with him around the clock.
Brown, who averaged 14.7 points and 8.7 assists in the first seven ACC games, has started 59 straight games for N.C. State, going back to Sidney Lowes final game in the 2010-11 season. Gottfried said it would take time to evaluate the injury.
Im going to guess its going to be a couple of days before we start to have a feeling if he can or cant play, Gottfried said. Well just have to wait and see.
Brown has already shown an ability to recover quickly from injuries. He had his right knee surgically repaired at the end of June and returned ahead of schedule to play in N.C. States preseason tour of Spain in August.
Gottfried said he would not rush Brown back in the lineup and risk further injury. At 5-3 in the ACC, N.C. State still has 10 conference games left on the schedule.
I dont want to take a chance on him injuring himself worse, Gottfried said. We have a lot of games left. Weve to be smart about it, so well see.
Brown had two points, three rebounds, two steals and an assist in 10 minutes against Virginia. He turned his left ankle as he attempted a driving layup with 10:38 left in the first half.
Brown dribbled around Virginia guard Doug Browman and then stumbled through the lane before he stepped on the foot of Virginia forward Darion Atkins. Brown went up for the layup, and there was contact with Atkins, but on the replay it looked like Brown hurt his left foot before he took off for the shot.
Gottfried, who called Brown the best point guard in the conference, said losing Brown affects everything. Gottfried used both Rodney Purvis, normally the starter at off guard, and reserve Tyler Lewis at the point against Virginia.
Purvis finished Tuesdays game with six points, one assist and one turnover in 33 minutes. Lewis, who had only played a total of 21 minutes in the first seven ACC games, finished with three points, two assists and without a turnover in 15 minutes.
I thought they both did a pretty good job throughout the game, Gottfried said on Tuesday after the game. Well see. If you have an injury, you have to find a way to make it work.
Purvis struggled in the final minutes of Tuesdays game, as did States offense as a whole. After Scott Woods 3-pointer tied the game at 54 with 4:22 left in the game, the Wolfpack finished with one more point and no field goals in its final five possessions.
With N.C. State down 56-55, Purvis had a turnover on an errant entry to forward C.J. Leslie and missed an open 3 on consecutive possessions. Purvis also fouled Virginia guard Jontel Evans near midcourt with 26.1 seconds left in the game, which Gottfried said was not a good play.
I think I did pretty well, minus the late-game turnover but Im going to get better and learn from it, Purvis said on Tuesday.
At 6-foot-2, Purvis future is probably at the point, but with Brown entrenched and recruit Anthony Barber en route next season, his role has been at shooting guard. But Purvis said he gets an opportunity to run the team in practice.
I knew that I would definitely have to play some point guard and thats what I really want to do, Purvis said.
There might be other options, especially in transition. Leslie, who was dominant with 20 points and 14 rebounds, actually handled the ball three different times on the break in the first half.
I can bring the ball up, coach has no problem with that, Leslie said.
Leslie said the short-term issue is figuring out the best combinations without Brown.
We had to adjust and we couldnt get the hang of it, Leslie said. Weve got to get more comfortable at point guard when Zos not in the game.