Virginia Coach Tony Bennett was evasive Monday when asked whether senior center Assane Sene remained on track to return to the court near the end of this week, as had been originally expected. Sene fractured his right ankle Jan. 19, and an initial team-issued report stated the 7-footer could return in approximately six weeks.
“I’ve been getting asked a lot of questions about” Sene, Bennett said Monday during his segment of the ACC coaches’ teleconference. “I’m just going to focus on the last two games, and at the appropriate time or the right time, I’ll discuss his status, where he’s at.”
In other injury news, Bennett was vague in describing the status of freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon, who has been playing through a left foot injury the past three games. Brogdon tallied four points on 1 of 4 shooting and grabbed two rebounds in 25 minutes during Virginia’s 54-51 loss Saturday against North Carolina. The Cavaliers host Florida State on Thursday.
“With Malcolm, we’ll see,” Bennett said. “We were off [Sunday], and we’ll see where he’s at.”
Bennett did say it seems sophomore guard Joe Harris is “getting a little more functional with” his broken left (non-shooting) hand. Harris made 5 of 10 shots from the field Saturday and finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 28 minutes against North Carolina.
There have been a few instances in games when opposing players “were taking some whacks at it and intentionally grabbing at” Harris’s broken hand, Bennett said. But there is less swelling in the hand now, and Bennett said recent X-rays revealed some healing in the fracture. Harris’s protective wrap will continue to be trimmed down as the swelling subsides, Bennett said.
“All those things help, but there is a mental aspect to it, for sure, where you fracture your hand, it’s sore and you’re playing with it,” Bennett said. “You’re not used to it, and your initial instinct is going to be to pull it away and not stick it in there. You just get more used to playing with that.”
Referring to the overall state of the team’s health with two regular season games remaining, Bennett said it was “not ideal. But we’ll keep plugging, for sure.”