Virginia Tech forward Victor Davila received another steroid injection for his injured groin Tuesday, but Coach Seth Greenberg said the senior’s status has not changed since last week and he will miss his fifth straight game when the Hokies travel to Clemson on Thursday night.
Doctors are still unsure what exactly ails Davila, who is experiencing pain in his groin area. At this point, Greenberg is simply hoping Davila will show enough progress to suit up and play some in his final home game at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night against North Carolina State.
Greenberg said Davila, who last played in Virginia Tech’s 66-65 win over Boston College back on Feb. 12, has taken this extended absence particularly hard since the Hokies have lost three close games to ranked opponents since he was sidelined.
“Here’s a guy that’s done anything and everything we’ve asked him to do,” Greenberg said of Davila. “Whether he gets four shots or 10 shots, he’s the same guy. . . . He’s been such a good soldier and at the culmination of his career he hasn’t played for two-and-a-half weeks and there’s a chance he might not even play again. That’s hard, especially because we’re playing pretty well and we’re so close. I know in his mind he’s thinking, ‘I know I could have made a difference in that game.’ ”
Greenberg added Tuesday that he would accommodate Davila in any way he can during Sunday’s senior night game against the Wolfpack, even if it just means playing him for a few possessions. But he’s still wary of putting Davila in harm’s way, even if it’s to play his final home game at Virginia Tech.
“He tells me after practice it’s tough having to sit out of practice and watch us go hard and see us get better as a team and see us go through these tough games and him not able to contribute to injury,” sophomore Jarell Eddie said. “It’s really hard on Vic just to have to watch and sit there. He can’t really do anything about it.”
The only good development to come from Davila’s injury issues has been the emergence of sophomore Cadarian Raines. The 6-foot-9 forward has twice now shown flashes of a complete offensive arsenal, scoring 13 points in a loss at Florida State two weeks ago and then pouring in a career-high 16 points in the Hokies’ loss at Duke this past weekend.
Raines has averaged close to 32 minutes the last four games, but that he’s still playing come February and into March is a victory by itself considering his first two years on campus were marred by a series of foot injuries. Now, though, the Petersburg, Va., native has shown an array of post moves and a willingness to put his 238-pound frame on the line underneath in traffic.
Greenberg said Raines is still not “totally trusting” of his feet, which have both been operated on since he came to Virginia Tech before the 2009-10 season, but that hasn’t diminished from the potential Raines has shown in recent weeks.
Raines played in 21 games as a true freshman, but took a redshirt after four games last season when he underwent season-ending foot surgery last December. Greenberg said this past offseason was the first time Raines has been healthy enough to participate in individual workouts, which “for big guys, that’s imperative, because they develop in a different way than say perimeter guys.”
“You’re talking about a guy who went two years without an individual workout. This is the first time we’ve really had a chance to get in the gym and work with him,” Greenberg added. “He’s still scared, but his instincts are coming back a little bit. He’s reacting a little bit better.”
Greenberg also mentioned that Raines is an excellent passer, although he hasn’t shown it in games yet. The coach still believes his newest starting big man must continue to work on defensive rotations, running the floor consistently and rebounding outside his area.
But even Greenberg was willing to concede Raines may have turned a corner in recent weeks.
“If he can stay healthy,” said Greenberg, while knocking on the wooden table in front of him. “he’s got an exciting future.”