HUNTINGTON — Normally, Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni is a fan of threes.
The Herd’s latest three, however? Well, it’s one D’Antoni wished he’d never seen.
On Tuesday, D’Antoni announced Marshall’s men’s basketball team has been hindered by a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing within the program, marking the third time this season the Herd has either had a stoppage or been limited by coronavirus guidelines.
Unlike the last two stoppages, which occurred in the preseason, this one could potentially affect game action.
Marshall’s men’s basketball program is still slated to take on Charlotte in its opening home series at 6 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday at Cam Henderson Center.
According to Marshall Associate Athletic Director Jeff O’Malley, those games are still on as scheduled for this weekend, but the Herd has more testing to go through this week prior to that series.
However, that series is in jeopardy.
“At 4:51 on Tuesday, January 5, we’re playing, but that can change,” O’Malley said. “We’ve got to evaluate what’s going on and player availability. We tested again today (Tuesday) and we don’t have those results. Like everything else, it’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”
D’Antoni said he’s unsure of what will happen moving forward. However, at this time, he has to prepare as if there will be a pair of games this weekend.
“It is what it is and, again, we’ll deal with it one way or the other,” D’Antoni said.
Cassie Logan, assistant director of communications for Conference USA, confirmed there had been “some contact with sport administration” at Marshall in regard to this weekend’s games.
Logan also clarified the league’s guidelines in regard to being able to play in competition, which seemed to be in question throughout the day.
Conference USA’s guidelines require at least seven players to dress, including at least five scholarship athletes.
Marshall is teetering on those Conference USA thresholds, according to D’Antoni.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keeps specific information on student-athletes from being released, so who is available for this weekend is unknown.
To make matters more complicated in regard to this weekend’s action, Marshall has seen its share of injuries in recent weeks that already had limited its roster prior to this week’s testing and tracing issues.
Marshall center Iran Bennett has missed the last few weeks with an undisclosed injury and a pair of players were injured last week at Louisiana Tech.
Freshman forward Obinna Anochili-Killen left Friday’s game and did not return after what appeared to be an ankle injury upon video replays.
On Saturday, Killen did not start, but did attempt to play. However, he played 10 minutes with only one minute coming in the second half with the injury being a factor.
During Saturday’s win, Marshall forward Darius George also was caught in a loose-ball scramble and suffered an injury that was going to require an MRI this week, according to D’Antoni following Saturday’s comeback win.
George’s injury was expected to force him to miss extended time, although an exact amount was unknown as of Saturday.
While Marshall had several players left unavailable for the weekend due to contact tracing, none of the Herd’s coaching staff was part of that list, according to D’Antoni, who said the entire scenario gets confusing.
“None of the assistants got shut down, yet all of our players did,” D’Antoni said. “You all tell me. I’ve got no clue, but I don’t pretend to know medicine. I barely know how to call timeout. We’ll see what happens.”