Virginia Tech lost more than a basketball game Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.
Aday after suffering a stunning 78-73 defeat at the hands of Georgia Southern, the Hokies announced Sunday afternoon that freshman Marshall Wood had fractured the third metatarsal bone in his left foot and will be out indefinitely.
The injury won’t require surgery, but considering Virginia Tech entered the season short-handed to begin with, it could be a devastating blow with a West Coast trip and ACC play looming in the next few weeks. Coach James Johnson will have just seven scholarship players at his disposal until Wood returns.
“I feel extremely bad for Marshall,” Coach James Johnson said. “This young man has been playing well. He was really starting to come into his own and playing with confidence. He has been helping the team in a lot of ways. This is a setback to Marshall and setback to our team.”
There is not currently a timetable for Wood’s recovery, but his absence will cause the Hokies some headaches going forward. The Rustburg, Va., native, who was the lone recruit that stuck with his commitment to Virginia Tech after former coach Seth Greenberg was fired last spring, was averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds while playing more than 18 minutes per game off the bench.
Wood had proven to be a valuable change of pace to starting power forward C.J. Barksdale, and his 6-foot-8, 210-pound frame had held up well battling on the glass inside. Though he was shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor, including 5 for 28 from three-point range, teammates raved about how he could eventually stretch the floor in Johnson’s fast-break offense.
Though the news comes at a time when Virginia Tech has a week to regroup, the Hokies are entering a tricky portion of their schedule. After losing for the second time in three games, Virginia Tech will play two games as part of the Las Vegas Tire Classic next weekend against Bradley and either Portland or Colorado State. A week later, the Hokies then travel to Salt Lake City for a game against BYU before moving into their ACC schedule.
With Wood sidelined, Johnson must hope Barksdale can stay out of foul trouble. When the sophomore needs a break, the Hokies would likely use big men Cadarian Raines and Joey van Zegeren together or move small forward Jarell Eddie (team-high 7.2 rebounds per game) inside, where he logged significant minutes a year ago. Walk-on Christian Beyer may also see some minutes should Virginia Tech run into serious foul troule.
The lack of depth inside could also exacerbate the Hokies’ rebounding issues. They’ve been beaten on the boards in both of their losses this year.