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Gonzaga notebook: Injured toe keeps Pangos from practicing

Kevin Pangos is playing with a sprained right big toe. (Associated Press)
Kevin Pangos is playing with a sprained right big toe. (Associated Press)

Kevin Pangos took a seat courtside at the McCarthey Athletic Center while his Gonzaga teammates began another practice.

Some days he wears shoes, some days he doesn’t. The latter is more convenient when he goes back to the training room for treatment. Pangos has basically been a spectator at practice since spraining his right big toe a few days before the New Mexico State game Dec. 7. He pays close attention to the drills and coaches’ instructions because he’s not able to take physical reps.

Pangos says his toe is getting better, despite a South Alabama player stepping on the digit in the first half of Saturday’s Battle in Seattle.

“It didn’t take it back to stage 1,” he said, “but it kind of aggravated it again.”

He wears a gel pad and plastic plate in games to protect the toe. It alleviates some of the soreness the following day.

“I’ve played in three games since doing it but it’s showing improvement,” Pangos said. “I’m hoping by Thursday or Friday it’s healed. It’s feeling a lot better, it’s just that last little bit (of recovery) and there’s no point in injuring it in practice.”

Asked if he considered sitting out a game, Pangos said: “The only time was New Mexico State. We talked to a lot of people and some recommended sitting out that game, but I really wanted to play and that morning it felt a lot better. I want to be smart and the coaches have been great.”

The toe has impacted Pangos’ ability to get low and push off on his right foot, limiting his drives to the basket. He’s been to the free-throw line only six times in three games. He attempted 39 free throws in the first seven games.

Gary Bell Jr., who suffered a hip pointer in the New Mexico State game, said he’s “good.” Bell has put up strong numbers in the last two games, including 20 points versus South Alabama.

Special visitors

The Bulldogs will be in Wichita on Saturday to take on Kansas State. When they return, Przemek Karnowski will have an early Christmas present waiting in Spokane. His parents are flying in from Torun, Poland, for a two-week visit, their first trip to the U.S.

Karnowski’s dad, 6-foot-3 Bonifacy, and mom, 6-0 Wieslawa, will attend four WCC games, beginning with Santa Clara.

“I saw them in September,” Karnowski said. “I was here for first summer session and then I was playing with the national team so I was probably 10 days at home. It’ll give them an opportunity to see how I practice, how I live here.

“I’m an only child and when I left home at age 16 they miss me, (at least) I hope so.”

Karnowski talks with his parents by Skype about once a week. Bonifacy, called “Boney” by his friends, is a P.E. teacher and basketball coach. Wieslawa is a physical therapist.

“He was my first coach,” Karnowski said. “When I got injured she was always helping me.”

Testy week

It’s finals week at Gonzaga, which means juggling practices around exam schedules.

“You kind of build in a lot of rest time, a lot of study time and practices when we can get them in,” coach Mark Few said.

Karnowski bounded down the stairs from the upper concourse to court level in slacks and dress shoes. “Presentation,” he said. “Finals week.”

Gift wrapped

Senior guard David Stockton was asked what he wants for Christmas.

“I want Sam Dower to get 14 rebounds a game, that’s what I want,” he said.

Sophomore guard Kyle Dranginis wants “some wins, no losses.”

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