Virginia senior center Assane Sene will not play the rest of the season, regardless of whether his right ankle injury heals enough for him to compete. The team announced Monday that Sene had violated unspecified team rules and will sit out the postseason.
“Assane remains a member of our team, but even if he is physically able he will not play in games again this season because of a violation of team rules,” Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said in a statement. “As I have said previously, we have expectations for the players in our program.”
Bennett said Monday during his segment of the ACC coaches’ teleconference that he would not comment further on Sene’s situation. When asked whether – team rules violation aside – Sene would have been healthy enough to play at some point in the postseason, Bennett said he thought “it would have been close.” Sene fractured his right ankle Jan. 19 and had corrective surgery the following day.
“I think there was a chance, but again, that’s out of the equation with” the team rules violation, Bennett said.
Sene will remain on the team. He traveled with the Cavaliers to Sunday’s game at Maryland and sat on the team’s bench. It was the first road trip he’d attended since suffering his injury. Virginia is 7-6 in Sene’s absence this season.
Sene started all 17 games before his injury and averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per contest. But Virginia has missed his defensive presence the most. In addition to tallying 15 blocks, Sene was the team’s best defensive communicator.
The 7-footer from Senegal started 65 of the 95 games in which he played during his collegiate career and is tied for No. 6 on the program’s all-time blocks list with 108.
Virginia will own the No. 4 seed entering this week’s ACC tournament in Atlanta and will not play until Friday’s quarterfinal round by virtue of a first-round bye.
Bennett also said Monday that he expects sophomore guard Joe Harris to practice this week after missing the team’s workouts Friday and Saturday with concussion symptoms. Harris logged 37 minutes during Sunday’s 75-72 overtime win at Maryland, and Bennett said the player seemed fine afterward. The team held a film session Monday morning, and Bennett said Harris appeared okay during that, as well.
Regarding freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon, who has sat out the past two games with a left foot injury, Bennett said it would be premature for him to comment on the player’s status.