PULLMAN – Washington State postponed its second men’s basketball game in as many days, announcing Thursday that its Pac-12 contest scheduled for Saturday at Oregon State has been shelved due to coronavirus-related issues within the Cougars’ program.
On Tuesday, the same issues forced WSU to push back its road game against Oregon, initially slated to tip off Thursday night.
Makeup dates haven’t been announced. The Cougars are still awaiting news regarding another postponement.
They had to call off their Dec. 29 rivalry matchup with Washington about 12 hours before game time at Beasley Coliseum because of COVID-19 protocols at the Pullman school.
“I’ve been pressing the conference on the Washington game,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said Tuesday. “I want to make sure we get that one back on the schedule.”
The Cougars won’t play until 7 p.m. Wednesday , when they host Utah.
Smith said one WSU player is showing symptoms of the virus while “a couple” of others who have tested positive are asymptomatic. He indicated earlier this season that the entire team is vaccinated, and noted Tuesday that all but three of WSU’s players have contracted COVID-19 recently.
“Hopefully, we’re through it,” he said. “It’d be a relief to know it’s not going to be us (responsible for games being postponed).
“I think after this bout we should be done with COVID – hopefully.”
Speaking with media members an hour after the Oregon game had been postponed, Smith didn’t make any promises when asked about the Cougars’ prospects of facing the Beavers on Saturday.
“We’re trying to get it,” he said. “Possibly Sunday, but I don’t know if we’ll have the numbers.”
The Cougars played shorthanded last weekend in a home split with the Bay Area schools. They were missing forward DJ Rodman and post Matt DeWolf because of COVID-19 protocols. Center Dishon Jackson was also out with an eye injury, which will keep him sidelined for at least two more weeks, Smith said after WSU’s 62-57 loss to Stanford on Jan. 13.
WSU (10-7, 3-3) can’t seem to avoid injuries and illness this season. Roster limitations have contributed to the bumpy nature of the Cougar’ season, impeding their new-look team’s development. Multiple players have been in and out of the lineup, and sidelined for significant chunks of practice time.
Ahead of their game with Utah, the Cougars will conduct individual workouts and conditioning/weight-lifting exercises while waiting for an unspecified number of players to exit the school’s COVID-19 protocols and rejoin the fold for full team practice sessions.
“We’re trying to get back on track,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we can stay on track and get through the season. It’s been three seasons of this, going back to the conference tournament my first year. So, it’s been a lot.”
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