Chuck Landon: Kane must use broken hand to carry Herd
DeAndre Kane is still injured.
That was obvious on two fronts during Marshall's stunningly bad 94-57 loss to Ohio University Saturday in Athens, Ohio.
First, it was obvious in his atypical performance.
Just look at Kane's stat line. Other than eight rebounds there were no positives. He scored only six points on 3-for-10 shooting and didn't make a foul shot or 3-pointer. He had four turnovers compared to only two assists. And he fouled out in only 20 minutes of playing time.
Second, it was as obvious as the bag of ice Kane wore on his broken right hand when he entered the media room for a post-game press conference.
The hard-nosed junior guard doesn't make a habit of displaying his injuries as if they were a red badge of courage, but the ice bag spoke volumes.
"It's all right," said Kane. "My hand is still broken, but I'm playing."
He was in denial. It is Kane's way. That comes as no surprise because any physically tough athlete will respond that way.
But as the questions about his hand persisted, Kane did what he inevitably always does. He was honest. He told the truth.
"It still hurts," he said. "It's still broke. It's only been three weeks. ... four weeks will be tomorrow (Sunday). I can't really grip the ball because I've got a pad right there. So, I just have to shoot with my fingers.
"But no excuses. I'm out here playing."
Yes, he is.
He probably shouldn't be because most fractures require a minimum of six weeks to heal. But his team obviously needs him and that is all Kane needs to know.
So, he sucked it up and played injured against Ohio last Saturday. And Kane will do it again when Marshall hosts Tulsa at 7 p.m., Wednesday, in the Herd's Conference USA opener at the Henderson Center.
Marshall's 6-foot-4 star guard isn't going to be 100 percent healthy for a while. But he will play anyway because his team is struggling so mightily.
That's how Kane is wired.
"We'll find a way," he insisted, despite the morale-busting 37-point loss. "We're not going to stop working. We're not going to put our heads down.
"We're going to get it together. Non-conference games are over with. We don't have to focus on that now. We just have to focus on conference games."
That obviously denotes a heightened sense of urgency for a team that finished the non-conference portion of its schedule with an alarming 7-8 record. But what are the other implications of having nothing but C-USA games remaining?
"From here on out, we've just got to play hard," said Kane. "We've got to play smart and play together. But we'll keep fighting. I'm not going to sit here and tell you what's wrong and what's right and what we've got to do better.
"We're just going to keep playing. It's as simple as that."
The concern is pride. Does the Herd have enough pride to pull together and persevere?
"I think we've all got pride," said Kane emphatically. "We're going to keep playing. We just have to work on a few things."
That includes Kane.
He has to work on adapting his game to his still broken shooting hand and concentrate on helping the Herd in areas besides scoring.
And he will.
That's the tradeoff for playing injured.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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