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BYU basketball: Ankle injury could sideline Yoeli, disheartens Cougars

Published February 21, 2017 11:05 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

BYU's new Marriott Center Annex — a basketball practice facility and so much more for the men's and women's teams — was showcased on Tuesday night. Part of the media tour included a stop at the state-of-the-art training room and, by sheer coincidence, a look at freshman forward Yoeli Childs' sprained left ankle.

It looks bad — big and swollen and discolored.

Color me surprised if Childs plays on Thursday night when the 19-10 Cougars meet 10-19 Portland at Chiles Center in the Rose City.

The Cougars, however, think there's a chance.

"Just taking it day by day," Childs said earlier Tuesday, after practice. "I mean, I am a guy who will play through anything. Whatever I can give my team, if the coaches think it is going to be beneficial for us, then I will go."

The Cougars can clinch the No. 3 seed for the WCC Tournament next week with a win (and probably won't beat No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday) so the game is hugely important at a place where they have traditionally struggled. BYU fans in the Pacific Northwest show up in droves at Chiles, but that tends to produce a better effort from the Pilots, and their fans.

"I am feeling pretty good," Chids said. "It is just day by day. I am just trying to stay on top of it, ice, elevate, just do the little things and see where it goes from there."

Asked whether it wasn't as bad as it appeared when it happened Saturday night against Saint Mary's, Childs said:

"Um, I dunno. It popped pretty hard, so it kind of scared me, but obviously I was able to go back in and play with the adrenaline and everything. I think that's a good sign, if I can play the day it happened, that is good looking forward."

Coach Dave Rose said Childs didn't practice Monday or Tuesday and painted a bleaker picture than the player did.

"He is trying to recover," Rose said. "It is pretty swollen, pretty sore. So tomorrow is a big day. We will see how he is feeling tomorrow, see how the swelling has responded. But it got pretty big. And that's what you are fighting now. Just got to get the swelling out of it."

If Yo can't go, the Cougars are in trouble, obviously. Already shorthanded, they will need Jamal Aytes, Braiden Shaw, Corbin Kaufusi and/or Payton Dastrup to step up. Giving tours of the weight room at the Annex Tuesday night, Aytes said he's ready and willing to be a factor.

Rose said the coaching staff is still trying to figure out what to do if Childs can't play.

"I thought he would practice today, so we had it set with our scout team and everything put together," Rose said. "That kinda caused us some issues in practice today. We are working on some things we weren't really comfortable with and familiar with and we wanted to get a look at it today.

But the spirit of our guys needs to be way better than it was today."

Earlier, Rose had mentioned that Tuesday's practice was not as crisp and spirited as he would have liked.

"I think today was really different than yesterday, the feel in practice," he said. "That Yoeli didn't practice today I think had an effect on the other guys, and how [they] feel. … I just think that this group needs to find a core, kind of a leadership group, that can step up and bring them back to a real positive spot. And hopefully we can [find one] in a day or two."




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