Butler’s Howard has mild concussion
Team trainer Ryan Galloy said Howard took two blows in Saturday’s 52-50 victory over Michigan State, first banging his head on the floor after a violent collision with two other players and then taking an elbow to the head after he returned to the game. After the second shot, he again left the floor and did not come back.
Galloy described the injury as the “mildest of mild concussions.”
“He was woozy, kind of out of it, lethargic, he had
a headache,” Galloy said. “After the game, he was fine. He wasn’t feeling sick, he ate.”
Howard, who was not available for comment Sunday, is scheduled to be re-evaluated Monday morning.
Coach Brad Stevens said Howard’s status would be a game-time decision.
“His health is of numero uno priority, and if he can’t play, he can’t play,” Stevens said. “It will have to be the next man up.”
Galloy did not specify what tests Howard would undergo but said doctors and coaches expect Howard to give honest descriptions of how he feels.
“There’s been a lot in the news about concussions, and it’s not as cut and dry as people want to make it,” Galloy said. “Matt has never had a concussion, which is good, so it’s not like when you get a football player who has had five or six of them. That would be another story. Each one is different. We’ve had guys with mild concussions who haven’t gotten better for weeks.”
Howard walked into practice Sunday with his teammates wearing his usual workout gear – shorts, a white tank top and a T-shirt underneath.
If Howard cannot play, Butler would be missing its No. 3 scorer, its second-leading rebounder and its strongest post player. He averages 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and was the 2008-09 Horizon League player of the year.
Howard’s teammates, however, expect their 6-foot-8 center to be on the court against Duke.
“I talked to him this morning, and I think he will play,” junior guard Zach Hahn said.
Gordon Hayward thought he’d be able to sneak back to his hometown church for Easter services without causing a stir. Boy, was he wrong.
“Me and Garrett (Butcher) couldn’t really get out of there,” Hayward said. “People were swarming us. You don’t really get that at church.”
But all of Indiana—the whole country, really—is going gaga for Butler, which plays Duke for the national title Monday night. The Indianapolis school has just 4,200 students, making it the smallest to appear in the title game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Bulldogs know they’re popular, but Hayward was still surprised by the reaction at Messiah Lutheran Church in his hometown of Brownsburg.
“It was weird because I was signing (autographs) on the church program,” Hayward said.
Still, it was nice to get back home, however briefly. Well, nice for Hayward, perhaps. His roommate, Ronald Nored, wasn’t so enthusiastic about the trip when Hayward’s alarm went off and he turned on the lights a little after 7 a.m. Sunday.
“He was kind of cranky, for sure,” Hayward said. “He was definitely all for sleeping in.”
IMPRESSIVE LIST: He’s already beaten Jim Boeheim and Tom Izzo in this tournament. Now Butler coach Brad Stevens gets to match wits with Mike Krzyzewski.
“The best way I can put it is, they write books and I get to read them,” the 33-year-old Stevens cracked.
Countered Coach K: “I’ve already put in a pre-order for HIS book.”
Stevens, the coaching whiz-kid, admitted he’s flattered that he even gets to shake hands with those coaching stars. But he insisted that the victories over Boeheim’s Syracuse team in the round of 16 and Izzo-led Michigan State in the Final Four was because of the players on the court, not anyone on the sideline.
“If it’s just me against them, we’re in trouble,” Stevens said. “It’s not the case. It’s Butler beating those teams. We just have to all work together. We’ve been fortunate to win those games. It has very little to do with me. It has a lot to do with these guys going out there and giving it everything they’ve got.”