Steve Zack finishes season on the bench

Steve Zack finishes season on the bench

March 29, 2013, 2:00 am
Share This Post

LOS ANGELES -- For a brief moment the other day, it looked like Steve Zack might play against Wichita State. Not a lot. Maybe not much at all. But there was a chance -- or so it seemed.

On Wednesday, the doctors cleared the sophomore to play. Zack, who sprained ligaments in his left foot against Duquesne on March 2, missed the previous six games. When he stepped onto the Staples Center court for practice, people wondered whether the 6-11 center would see some time against Wichita State.

It didn’t happen. Zack – who ran the floor during that practice and even threw down a few dunks to the delight of his teammates – missed his seventh consecutive game and watched from the bench as 13-seed La Salle fell to nine-seed Wichita State, 72-58, in the West Region Sweet 16 on Thursday. (See story).

“We worked him [Wednesday] just to see what he could do and he was fatigued pretty quick,” La Salle head coach John Giannini said. “I think one of the reasons that he healed so quickly is we kept him on the crutches. We kept him on the boot. We really kept him to where he could heal as quickly as possible. But the downside of that, of course, is he was very deconditioned. He had a lot of soreness [Thursday], and we didn’t think he could move well enough. It had nothing to do with the injury. It’s just soreness.”

That probably shouldn’t have been a surprise. After his limited appearance in practice, Zack had to wrap his left foot in a large bag of ice. Giannini also said several times during the week that he “tends to be conservative” on injuries and that he thought it was unlikely that Zack would compete against the Shockers.

The Explorers certainly could have used Zack, who averaged 6.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks before getting hurt. La Salle faced a major size disadvantage against the Shockers, who have eight players who are 6-foot-5 or taller. Wichita State outrebounded the Explorers 47-29. The Shockers also had 40 points in the paint while La Salle had 26.

“I was a little tight, a little sore when I woke up [Thursday],” Zack said. “I wasn’t comfortable with my lateral movement. It just didn’t feel like I’d be able to go. It was disappointing to end the season that way, but I’m proud of the year we had.”