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Sports >  WSU basketball

‘We’ve just been snakebit’: Washington State postpones second game in less than a month, pushes back matchup with Oregon due to COVID-19 issues

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 18, 2022

Washington State coach Kyle Smith walks the sideline during a Pac-12 game against Colorado on Jan. 6 in Boulder, Colorado.  (Associated Press)
Washington State coach Kyle Smith walks the sideline during a Pac-12 game against Colorado on Jan. 6 in Boulder, Colorado. (Associated Press)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

PULLMAN – Washington State’s road game against Oregon, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been postponed because of COVID-19 issues within the Cougars’ program.

WSU’s season has run into coronavirus-related roadblocks twice over the past three weeks. The Cougs also pushed back their Apple Cup game against Washington, initially slated for Dec. 29 in Pullman, due to COVID-19 protocols on WSU’s end. The contest was called off about 12 hours before tipoff.

Make-up dates for both matchups have yet to be determined.

WSU (10-7, 3-3 Pac-12) and Oregon State are still tentatively set to meet on Saturday in Corvallis, but coach Kyle Smith said he’s unsure whether the Cougars’ will have enough players available to field a team that soon. It’s possible that game is delayed a day, the third-year coach noted.

“We’ve just been snakebit,” Smith said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “We haven’t had a full team I think since USC (a Dec. 4 game).”

An aggressive flu bug made its way around WSU’s locker room midway through last month.

“I assumed it was going to be COVID and it wasn’t,” Smith said. “We got double-whammied. We got the flu, which was nastier than the COVID, as far as symptoms. That snowballed right into COVID. So, hopefully we’re through it.”

Two players, forwards DJ Rodman and Matt DeWolf, missed WSU’s Pac-12 split last weekend with the Bay Area schools because of COVID-19 protocols. The Cougars’ tipoff against Stanford in Pullman last Thursday was delayed by over an hour as the hosts awaited coronavirus testing results.

Without revealing who, Smith said Tuesday that one Cougar player in the school’s COVID-19 protocol is showing mild symptoms of the virus while “a couple” of others are asymptomatic.

“They’re losing conditioning and practice and they feel fine,” Smith said of the asymptomatic Cougars. “They’re frustrated.”

Smith indicated that all but three of WSU’s players have contracted COVID-19 at some point this season.

“I think after this bout we should be done with COVID hopefully,” he added. “We’ve got three left that haven’t had COVID, which should put us in a position where, from here on out, we should be able to play.”

WSU won’t be conducting any full-team practice sessions this week, but the Cougs aren’t completely stopping operations.

“Anyone that’s in close-contact range is staying home, but that’s about it,” Smith said. “Just lift (weights), try to keep conditioning, get some skill work in and keep busy. If we can get back on track and keep moving, that’d be great.”

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