Jim Boeheim is hopeful to have Tyus Battle back in practice today after the junior guard missed the first two games of his Syracuse Orange basketball career during the ACC Tournament. In Battle’s absence, Syracuse went 1-1 by handling Pittsburgh before falling to Duke in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
Battle missed the conference tournament after taking a hard fall last Saturday at Clemson. Boeheim suggested after the Pittsburgh game on Wednesday night that Battle was still two or three days away from getting back on the court. After the game against Duke, Boeheim offered a similar sentiment.
“We think Tyus will be back at practice, probably Saturday,” Boeheim said on Thursday night. “He’s close.”
Battle was dealing with some swelling in his back and was noticeably limping on Thursday. Still, Syracuse got some inspired guard play in the two games without Battle as Buddy Boeheim scored 35 points and Frank Howard dropped 46. Battle’s backcourt mate of three seasons said that he was still encouraging his teammates while he was out.
“He’s been vocal, very vocal, empowering everybody,” Howard said. “Being a leader we’d rather have him out there on the court.”
At the latest, Battle will practice tomorrow according to Boehiem before the team gathers for Selection Sunday. Syracuse will learn its NCAA Tournament fate during the selection show.
Battle is averaging 17.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 36.3 minutes per contest.