Heath hopes Verdejo can return Wednesday
After playing without senior guard Jesus Verdejo in Saturday's loss at No. 1 Connecticut, USF coach Stan Heath said Monday that he's hopeful Verdejo can recover from a foot injury enough to play in Wednesday's game at Seton Hall.
"We expect him to be able to play. How much I don't know. His practice status for today would be questionable, but I fully expect he'll be back (Tuesday)," Heath said.
Verdejo has been limited by a painful condition called plantar fasciitis and has worn a walking boot to help speed his recovery. Heath said Verdejo has been bothered by the injury for about three weeks, but the pain increased to the point he was unable to walk without a limp before Saturday's game.
"I've had plantar fasciitis, and it gradually gets more and more painful," Heath said. "The Georgetown game, he said he felt like he was walking on glass, just really painful. He got taped up for the game against UConn, but he couldn't even walk without a limp. Hopefully he settles down a little bit, but it's had an effect. I look at his numbers and he's shooting 21 percent on 3s. He's so much better a shooter than that, and it really is the injury more than anything else."
In Verdejo's absence, freshman Justin Leemow played 34 minutes at UConn, nearly triple his normal playing time. Leemow missed all seven shots from the field, but played well defensively and had just one turnover against the Huskies.
"He's handled it about as well as he can," Heath said. "He's competing out there, going up against really good guards. On the defensive side, he's doing terrific, and offensively, he's a better shooter than what his numbers say. I'm not saying he's a lights-out guy, but he can make more shots."
-- Redshirt freshman B.J. Daniels, in position to be the top backup to Matt Grothe in the fall, will miss at least the first two days of spring football as he wraps up his first season with USF's men's basketball team. Daniels will stay with basketball until USF finishes play in the Big East tournament -- the Bulls' first game will be Tuesday, March 10, which is the second day of spring football practice.
-- Sophomore guard Dominique Jones needs one more point to reach 1,000 for his USF career, making him the second-fastest to reach the milestone in the program's history. Wednesday will be Jones' 58th game at USF, and only Tony Grier (51 games) has done it faster. Bulls great Charlie Bradley, the program's all-time leading scorer, needed 59 games to get his 1,000th point.