Heath's Bulls shorthanded, for now
USF's season opener for men's basketball is still 18 days off, and none of the current injuries may extend that far ahead, but Stan Heath doesn't like practicing with eight or nine players, as he did Monday morning.
"I'm concerned. We need to get healthy," coach Stan Heath said. "There are things you can't do with eight or nine guys, but I'm optimistic we'll get one or two guys back (Tuesday) and could be up to 11 by Thursday."
Freshman guard Gaby Belardo is out with a bruised knee, though Heath said he could be back at practice in four or five days. Junior center Alex Rivas Sanchez remains limited as he recovers from offseason surgery on both legs, and walk-on freshman forward Mitch Emory has yet to be cleared as he recovers from surgery on his ankle. Senior forward Aris Williams could return Tuesday after dealing with inflammation in his knees. Freshman forward Gus Gilchrist, awaiting word on an NCAA hardship waiver that would allow him to play this season, practiced Monday but has been limited by a sore shoulder.
The team's top five guards remain healthy, along with freshman Eladio Espinosa and senior B.J. Ajayi, potentially the starters at power forward and center. Heath said he's leaning toward putting another walk-on guard, 6-foot-3 Ryan Kardok, on the team's roster. Kardok has been practicing with the team and was one of nine players working out for most of Monday's drills.
-- A football awards update: USF quarterback Matt Grothe is not among 13 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. Nobody from the Big East made the cut, though six (6!) passers from the Big 12 made it, along with three from the SEC.