ANAHEIM, Calif. – Despite all the depth Sean Miller talks about with this Arizona team, nobody is probably more happy to have a day off Saturday than he is.
Not only did standout guard Nico Mannion tweak his back during the Wildcats’ 92-82 win over Penn on Friday in the Wooden Legacy, but forward Stone Gettings quietly suffered an even worse fate: He was hit squarely in the right eye, giving him a unmistakable dark circle on his face as he sat near the end of the bench in the second half.
“That was the play where – it was a non-foul – and they almost knocked him out unconscious,” Miller said. “I don't believe he has a concussion from what I understand, but he's got one heck of a black eye.”
Miller said jokingly that staffers would have to “cut him above the eye” so his eye would be able to see and allow him to play in the Wooden final on Sunday against Wake Forest.
But Miller said Gettings should be OK unless he starts showing concussion symptoms, which would keep him out at least a week.
“We'll ice it and hopefully he'll be ready to go," Miller said. "If he has any concussion symptoms, obviously he won't be ready, but assuming that he doesn't -- and right now, he doesn't -- he should be full go on Sunday as well.”
As for Mannion, who left the court briefly to take care of his back in the second half, Miller was less worried.
“I think his back is tight but it’s not an injury,” Miller said. “He should be OK. And us not playing a game tomorrow will be helpful. I think he’s fine.”
Miller said he preferred the extra day to rest during the three-game event, which contrasts with the Maui Invitational's three-games-in-three-days schedule and the everyday nature of nearly all conference tournaments.
“I think these exempt tournaments that play three games in four days, it's very smart,” Miller said. “It protects the players. It's one thing to do in March when you've been at it through these four or five months, but in November, a lot of times it's that build up and it really protects players.
"I’m thankful to be in a tournament that's like that, and I think more and more tournaments are thinking in those terms.”
Friday’s late tipoff kept our game coverage out of Saturday’s print edition but our game story is attached to this post, along with the box score and updated stats.