It is the second game game in a row Alkins has missed, and third of the last four because of his ailing foot.
Sophomore Rawle Alkins will sit out todays’s game as a precaution with minor soreness in his right foot.— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) January 27, 2018
Alkins did not practice at all this week after experiencing soreness after last Saturday’s win at Stanford.
Head coach Sean Miller said Thursday that x-rays on Alkins’ foot were negative, but the Wildcats are not going to play him until his pain level is at zero.
“Believe me, he wants to be out there, but it’s in his best interest and our team’s best interest to manage it the right way,” Miller said.
Alkins missed the first nine games of the season after breaking his foot in September, but had not missed a game since his return until he was held out last Wednesday at Cal.
Miller said he has no control of when Alkins plays or sits. But it does make sense for the Wildcats to be extra cautious with him since they will need him much more in March than they do now.
Arizona has won five straight and sits in first place in the Pac-12.
“It’s up to the doctor, [trainer] Justin [Kokoskie], and Rawle,” Miller said of Alkins’ return date. “And if all three of those guys agree that it’s safe for him to return, then we’ll play him. And if there’s a minute-restriction we’ll do that as well.”
Dylan Smith will likely start for Alkins once again. The redshirt sophomore has been filling in admirably in Alkins’ stead, scoring in double figures in his last two starts with tremendous efficiency.
Smith played a season-high 34 minutes in the win vs. Colorado on Thursday, and said the extra playing time has helped him establish a rhythm.
“Basketball is a rhythm sport,” Smith said. “Once you get a little, it’s easier to play.”
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire