EDMONTON – Injuries have really put a damper on the MacEwan men's basketball season.
Unable to play their home games against Lethbridge last weekend because they had less than the required eight healthy players, the Griffins will have been off for almost two weeks when they finally suit up again on Friday at cross-town rival Alberta (8 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m., both Saville Centre, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
It will certainly be a challenging series, considering Wednesday afternoon was the first time in a week, the Griffins were able to practice with a full complement of players.
"We want (our development) to move forward, but through practices we haven't been able to because we have limited numbers," said head coach Mike Connolly. "We've only had four or five guys out every day, so (Wednesday's) the first day we'll have 10 guys. So, we've only been able to prepare Wednesday and Thursday. We've been able to do shooting and individual work, but no team stuff."
However, Connolly's been preaching about dealing with the cards you were dealt.
"We've talked about that," he said. "We can't let these things be excuses. We can still go perform in games."
Under Canada West's unique pandemic regional schedule of 2021-22, the Griffins (0-12) will be facing the Golden Bears (10-0) for the third and fourth times this season. In matches 1 and 2, they lost 105-61 and 96-69, respectively, hanging their hats on the fact they pushed the U SPORTS No. 2 for much of the second contest – a big improvement over 24 hours.
So, Connolly would like to see even more improvement this time around.
"Like I said at the beginning of the year, our evaluation games of where we're at are against the U of A and U of C," he said. "They're the best teams. And we showed we improved playing against U of C.
"Now we need to continue to show that playing through the U of A in our third and fourth games (against them) and making them closer. There was a huge difference from the Friday to Saturday, the first time we played U of A. We just want to continue to do that. We want to improve, get better and build upon something."