Arizona Wildcats freshman Bennedict Mathurin will be available for Thursday’s game vs. Stanford but will only be used in an emergency, head coach Sean Miller told Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.
Mathurin, arguably UA’s best player, is still ailing from an ankle sprain he suffered in Monday’s win over Arizona State.
Arizona's Ben Mathurin (ankle) will be available for tonight's game against Stanford, but will only be used in an "emergency", per Sean Miller.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 29, 2021
Averages 11.8 PPG and 4.9 RPG.
Miller: "Made it through shootaround. Dressed and will go through warmups".
While Miller said Mathurin only has a Grade 1 sprain—the least severe—he did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday for precautionary reasons.
“The hardest part is it’s a quick turnaround,” Miller said Wednesday. “It happened in a game on Monday night and now here we are preparing for a game on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. So, in fairness to whoever would would get that injury, it’s very difficult, and this is the first time that Benn has experienced this. So I think at first it just kind of scares you. You don’t really know where you’re going to go from here but I believe that every day that goes by moving forward, which includes from today to tomorrow, he’s going to make significant progress just because it’s a soft tissue injury and it’s not as significant as it could have been.
“We’re just right now letting him rest, rehab and just really allowing him to kind of watch our game plan and be a part of everything we’re doing to prepare for the game. But right now it makes no sense to put him out there and make him go.”
Mathurin being limited likely means freshman Dalen Terry will start at small forward and sparsely-used freshman Tibet Görener will see some minutes when/if Terry, James Akinjo and Terrell Brown need a breather.
Miller also said it’s possible power forward Azuolas Tubelis will slide down to the 3 if need be. Of course, the Wildcats are also without guards Jemarl Baker Jr. (wrist) and Kerr Kriisa (eligibility).
Stanford has a litany of injuries too, as point guard Daejon Davis, shooting guard Bryce Wills and forward Ziaire Williams—three of their four best players—will not play Thursday.