Gonzaga coach Mark Few was content to keep Jalen Suggs on the bench after he went down with what looked like a very serious leg injury on Wednesday night in their 87-82 win against No. 11 West Virginia.
However, No. 1 Gonzaga’s star freshman apparently talked his way back into the game at the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis.
Suggs, after leaving midway through the first half, returned just less than four minutes into the second half with a minor limp to him — the only small sign that he was hurt.
"I didn't want him to play, but he was pretty convincing," Few said, via ESPN. "He just tweaked his ankle a little bit. Once the trainers told me that's what it was, he's a pretty ferocious competitor. So he convinced me that he could be a factor.
“He was limping around on the first up-and-down. I told him if he keeps limping, I was gonna pull him out. And he quit limping, so I left him in there. He made some really nice winning plays for us."
Suggs OK after ankle ‘tweak’
Suggs, after driving through the lane, slipped back awkwardly after making a pass and had to catch himself on the floor. As the play was quickly called dead, Suggs immediately reached for his left ankle clearly in pain before he was helped off the floor.
Here's the Jalen Suggs play, foot slid on the court pic.twitter.com/Q0p312IapD
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) December 3, 2020
Gonzaga’s medical staff looked at him on the bench before he walked slowly to the tunnel, where he kept walking back and forth.
It took him a few minutes into the second half, but Suggs was clearly able to walk it off — as he then checked back into the game and finished the contest without coming back out.
Though he wasn’t as big of a factor offensively as he has been — Suggs finished with just four points, well shy of the 24 he dropped against No. 7 Kansas and the 12 he had against Auburn — it was clearly enough to push the Bulldogs to the five-point win.
“When we got out on the floor, he just told Coach that he wanted to play,” said guard Andrew Nembhard, who finished with 19 points and six rebounds off the bench, via ESPN. “We had a lot of confidence in him coming back to play. He’s a tough dude, so he’s gonna fight through that.”
Suggs will have two days off before Gonzaga takes on No. 2 Baylor on Saturday in what could be one of the best games of the season. Baylor beat No. 5 Illinois 82-69 on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.
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