Rough Night For Neal
Since the start of ACC play, senior forward Dave Neal frequenly has commented on his sore hips, ribs and sternum after games. That's simply the price an undersized post player pays when battling for rebounds, putbacks and positioning against taller and bigger opponents.
But early in the first half last night, Neal took a more serious blow. He caught an elbow, believed to be unintentional, from Virginia center Assane Sene, which led to a gash over Neal's left eye that needed 15 stitches and a series of tests to determine whether he suffered a concussion. Eric Prisbell provided more details in his sidebar for today's print edition, and here is Dan Steinberg's take on Neal's flesh wound and his teammates' reactions to it.
As for Gary Williams, well, let's just say he was a little inspired by the fact Neal was able to come back and play in the second half.
"I really think that's the part of team sports that is underrated," Williams said. "Everybody sees the ball go in the basket or a guy block a shot, stuff like that. But what goes on in players' minds is equally important. With Dave coming back, I know that picked everybody up; it picked me up when I saw that he wanted to play, because that's what you're trying to get into your team every year, you know, about how important it is that you give whatever you can. If you can play, fine; if you can't, that's okay too. But try to play. And Dave tried to play tonight in the second half.
"I didn't know if he could go a minute when he came back out onto the court, to tell you the truth. We were watching him very closely, but J.J. Bush said he couldn't do anymore damage other than opening the cut again. There was no concussion or anything like that. I didn't see the play, where it happened. I saw him run by the bench, and the blood was dripping pretty good."
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