TAMPA -- The injury bug struck the USF men’s basketball team in Saturday’s 61-57 win over George Mason. Victor Rudd, arguably the Bulls’ biggest offensive threat, suffered a concussion in the final seconds of the game, and even more crushing was the injury to sophomore Anthony Collins. Collins took a knee to the head while dribbling through multiple defenders. He left the game immobilized, on a stretcher. He was hospitalized Saturday night for neck pain.
Collins’ injury came with 10:03 left in the second half.
The point guard was the main puzzle piece in USF’s trip to the NCAA tournament last season. His status is unknown and Bulls coach Stan Heath didn’t have much to say after the game.
“We’ll make sure when he gets back out there, whatever happens, he’s ready to go,” Heath said. “He’s in good care, that’s the most important thing.”
According to Heath, Collins does have feeling in his extremities which is a “good sign.”
Heath was impressed with his team’s effort, despite the multitude of injuries.
“We already came into the game a little shorthanded, and we're banged up even more. I'll give our team a lot of credit. We could have folded and we didn't. We battled. We played really hard,” he said.
USF was already playing without guards Shawn Noriega and JaVontae Hawkins, as well as forward Kore White.
The Bulls are being depleted by injuries and their upcoming opponents on the schedule are only getting tougher.
Wednesday, USF travels to Orlando to face in-state rival UCF in the Bulls’ final non-conference game of the season. USF could be without five key players in the game. According to Heath, White (toe) could be back for the game against the Knights. Noriega (foot) and Hawkins (back) are likely out.
UCF beat USF earlier in the season and now with the injuries, it could prove to be an even trickier match-up for the Bulls.
After traveling to Orlando, USF will then host No. 9 Syracuse at the Sun Dome on January 6.