The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team returned to practice over the weekend. It marked the first time the team was able to practice together since going on pause following a Dec. 19 game against the Buffalo Bulls.
The Orange are expected to have a full roster at its disposal come Wednesday for its recently schedule game against Pittsburgh, which takes the place of Florida State after the Seminoles were put on pause.
Jim Boeheim spoke with media on the ACC Coaches Zoom call on Monday, divulging that players were allowed to practice individually with position coaches during the pause. Syracuse.com’s Mike Water asked Boeheim if Syracuse would have all players available on Wednesday.
Boeheim confirmed saying, “We’ll have a full roster.” That includes 6-foot-10 senior center Bourama Sidibe, who has missed all but four minutes of the season with a torn meniscus. Sidibe has returned to practice after having surgery to repair his left knee.
“He’s worked hard individually. He’s had a couple practices. Obviously his conditioning is a long ways away but he has participated in full practices,” Boeheim said of Sidibe.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is expected to be shorthanded at Syracuse. Head coach Jeff Capel said the Panthers will be down at least three scholarship players, and perhaps a fourth. Pittsburgh star Justin Champagnie is out six to eight weeks with a knee injury. The Panthers last played on Dec. 22 against Louisville. Players went home for Christmas and have not played in a game since.
“We will not have a full roster for our game against Syracuse on Wednesday,” Capel said on the ACC Coaches Zoom conference. “Obviously with Justin not able to play. We’ll also be down at least two more guys and possibly one more.”
Champagnie led Pittsburgh with 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Au’Diese Toney missed the last game with an ankle injury. It was unclear if Toney was included in the group of unavailable players, but he was set to return for Pitt before the new year.
“Justin’s a big loss for us. Period. Obviously with Syracuse with their zone, he’s a guy we feel is very comfortable in the middle of the zone, which we think can be a point of attack and also along the baseline. Justin also had the ability to step out and make a three. But where his biggest strength maybe has been this season is rebounding, especially offensive rebounding,” Capel said.