Senior center Eugene Teague’s return date from a concussion will not be clear for the foreseeable future, according to head coach Kevin Willard.
“Eugene (Teague) is going to be out… it can be a week, a month or two months,” Willard said in a press conference after a 79-66 loss to Creighton. “You saw his head hit. I’ve made the decision to not even try to test him (for a concussion).”
Willard said Teague returned to practice on Thursday, but became dizzy, which brings about the need to restart the concussion protocol.
Teague will get another CAT scan to make sure there is nothing that was missed the first time.
“He looked great today and felt great, but I made the decision that not to do anything for the near future,” Willard said. “We’re going to take it nice and slow. We’ve got to worry about life after basketball for Eugene.”
Teague has been inactive for the first two games of conference play after suffering a concussion on Dec. 27 in the team’s last non-conference game against Lafayette in Walsh Gymnasium.
At the beginning of the second half, Teague jumped up to the basket and was fouled hard. Instead of landing on his feet, he was undercut by another defender and his legs were taken out from under him. Teague’s arm slipped back and his head crashed down on the court.
Silence filled Walsh Gymnasium after the sickening thud of head meeting wood. Players were visibly rattled as Teague convulsed on the floor and was met with immediate medical care. He was on the ground for approximately 15 minutes before being rolled out on a stretcher.
The 6-foot-9-inch, 270-pound Teague was a solid presence in the paint for the Pirates on both sides of the ball. He’s shooting 62 percent from the floor and grabbing 9.4 points per game, both of which rank him second in the Big East.
The Pirates have definitely missed his inside presence. In the two games without Teague, the team has been outrebounded 79-55 and have been outscored in the paint 72-48. They’ve also suffered in second-chance points, allowing 30 while only scoring 12.
The depleted frontcourt (senior Aaron Geramipoor has been suffering from a sprained ankle) has left juniors Brandon Mobley and Patrik Auda to shoulder the load. Mobley has played 77 out of 90 minutes in the last two games (game at Providence went to double overtime). Auda, who Willard said would be limited for the rest of his career after recovering from foot injuries, has played 67 out of 90 minutes.
“To ask Brandon (Mobley) and Patrik (Auda) to do what they’re doing, night after night without any help is tough,” Willard said on Saturday. “They looked really spent out there.”
Teague’s return will be much anticipated, but the Pirates will return to the court against the No. 11 Villanova Wildats at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.