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Hokies take it easy before ACC tournament

One of Virginia Tech's goals in recent weeks has been to get a bye in the first round of this week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. That would have meant it finished the regular season as one of the league's top four teams.

But the secondary implication for the Hokies is perhaps the most important. Virginia Tech doesn't play until Friday afternoon, meaning it will get some much-needed rest for its roster of banged up players, notably guard Dorenzo Hudson, the team's second leading scorer.

Hudson has been battling a stress-related right foot injury since January, but the pain has recently been too much to bear. Hudson was not supposed to play against North Carolina State last Wednesday but begged his way onto the floor. But he was unable to play at Georgia Tech on Saturday, sitting out his first game of the season.

Now, with a long layoff before the Hokies' next game, Coach Seth Greenberg is thankful for the extra time to allow Hudson to mend. Greenberg said he would totally shut down Hudson this week before Friday's game. The Hokies will play either fifth-seeded Wake Forest or No. 12 seed Miami.

Asked how much it helped to give Hudson a long rest, Greenberg said, "Significantly."

Greenberg said the team prepared to play without Hudson because he had a feeling the junior wouldn't be able to play. After the N.C. State game, Greenberg said the usually attentive Hudson seemed distant and had his head down while the spoke. He took that an indication of the pain Hudson was feeling in his foot.

Hudson said Saturday he was unable to move laterally because of the injury, so he didn't want to try to force himself on the floor and hurt his team's chances of winning.

"It was real tough just sitting on the bench like that," said Hudson, who wore a mint-green sweater, a walking boot and carried his ubiquitous bag of Swedish Fish while watching from the sideline. "But I think I did a pretty good job of keeping my team in it from the sidelines and letting them know what we needed to do to win the game.”

And with the extra time off before the ACC tournament, the Hokies hope it will be the last time Hudson's contribution is limited to courtside motivation.

By Mark Viera  |  March 8, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
 
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