STORRS – The Huskies’ bench is thin to begin with, but they will be down two players against Stony Brook on Sunday (4 p.m. at Gampel). R.J. Evans has a sprain in the sternum-clavicular, or collar-bone area, and Leon Tolksdorf has a sore knee.
The Evans injury is more serious, and will probably keep him out at least two weeks.
“It means a lot,” Ryan Boatright, “he’s a huge piece of our success. He doesn’t do anything to hurt you on the court, he’s a smart player, a veteran player, and he brings positive energy on and off the court.”
Evans is averaging 20.6 minutes, 5.8 points.
“And he does a lot of things for us that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Shabazz Napier said.
Evans injured himself during practice on Thursday, no one could describe how. “It’s basketball, there was a struggle here and there,” coach Kevin Ollie said. “I don’t have a timetable on it, I don’t know how R.J. heals or how God is going to do it. I’m glad it’s not fractured, [then it would] definitely be six weeks.”
Brendan Allen, who has yet to get into a game, will likely pick up some of Evans’ minutes. At 6-3 and 187 pounds, he brings some of the same skills. “R.J. was playing 20 minutes a game, everybody is going to have to step up and pick up the slack,” Ollie said. “You can’t R.J. but you can be yourself.”
Tolksdorf “tweaked” his left knee, Ollie said, one in which he had a torn ACL repaired. He probably will not play against Stony Brook, but he is not expected to miss too much time.
The focus in practice this week for the Huskies: rebounding. DeAndre Daniels was saying almost the entire session on Friday to it.
“We’ve looked at some new drills,” Ollie said, “but at the end of the day, it’s the will to go get the basketball.”
Ollie is also looking for Tyler Olander to stay away from “silly fouls,” something that plagued him during the three games in the Virgin Islands.
I spent several hours at Stony Brook on Friday with coach Steve Pikiell, the former UConn captain, and have a story ready for the Sunday Courant.