Having to miss Monday's game against in-state power North Carolina State with an ankle injury would have been frustrating under any circumstances for UNC Greensboro guard Trevis Simpson.
The unusual way he did it made it even worse.
Bleary-eyed after waking up from an pregame nap as he walked through the lobby of a Raleigh hotel on Monday on his way to the team meal, Simpson got startled when he walked too close to the entranceway and the automatic door swung open.
"I just stopped suddenly because I thought I was going to be in the path of somebody else, and I was going to let them through," Simpson said. "Once I realized nobody was there, I tried to keep walking, I heard a pop in my ankle and it started burning and aching. It was then that I realized something wasn't right."
UNC Greensboro trainers had Simpson undergo an MRI which didn't reveal any severe ligament damage but did show he had overstretched several tendons in his ankle. He sat out the Spartans' 89-68 loss to NC State on Monday night and will be a game-time decision on Saturday when UNC Greensboro travels to face Southern Conference favorite Davidson.
While Simpson is able to laugh at himself for getting hurt walking through a hotel lobby, he says his teammates and coaches haven't given him too hard a time. UNC Greensboro coach Wes Miller called it "the darndest thing I've ever heard of in my entire life" earlier this week, but the Spartans know Simpson is too competitive to sit out unless he was really hurting.
"They know I'm the type of guy who will try to play through anything," Simpson said. "For something like that to happen and we're playing NC State, who's nationally ranked, they realize it must have been something serious."
Not having a guy who's averaging 20.3 points per game certainly hurt UNC Greensboro at NC State, but in some ways, the injury may help in the long run
One reason the Spartans (2-9) are off to a disappointing start is because they sometimes stand around watching Simpson a bit too much. Without their leading scorer against NC State, other players had to step up to keep the game competitive into the second half.
Simpson says his ankle is "90 percent," which makes him optimistic he'll be able to play at Davidson on Saturday. And, yes, he has a plan to make sure he makes it through the team's pregame activities without suffering another injury.
Said Simpson with a chuckle, "I'm going to stay in my room the whole time except when it's time for team functions."