Injuries are never a good thing. But they’re part of the game. Every team usually has to deal with them at some point. Temple’s timing just wasn’t very good.
You lose guys early, if you know they’re going to make it back, you can usually figure out a way to get by until they do. But when guys go down at this stage in the journey, there’s really not a whole lot of options. It’s not like there’s a waiver wire, or you can make a trade with somebody for future draft picks. You go with what you got. That’s where the Owls are.
It’s a shame, because the Owls looked as if they were hitting their stride at the right moment. Which shouldn’t come as any kind of shock, since Fran Dunphy’s teams usually do that. They know they’re not getting starting forward Micheal Eric back, since he has a season-ending knee injury. The status of starting swingman Scootie Randall is less certain. He has missed the last two games with a foot injury that some have described as a hairline fracture. Temple isn’t saying, which is understandable. But it appears that the earliest he might be able to return would be the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Temple, the three-time defending champion, likely won’t play until the quarterfinals on March 11. The NCAA Tournament starts six days later for 32 teams. And if he does get back, there’s no telling how effective he’ll be since the injury figures to hurt his lateral mobility.
Neither Eric nor Randall are the best players on the Owls. But Eric was another big-man presence alongside Lavoy Allen who did a lot of those so-called little things. Randall was a bona fide outside threat who also brought other stuff to the equation. And in Dunphy’s world, it’s always been about playing a team game. So everyone’s contributions mean something to the whole.