By MIKE ANGELINA
Friday, Villanova guard Dylan Ennis had his cast removed after he broke a bone in his right (shooting) hand on Oct. 25. On Sunday, he made his first return to the court since suffering the injury.
As the Wildcats prepared for the upcoming holiday weekend’s Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, the redshirt sophomore was a full participant at practice both yesterday and today. He said he is feeling good and used the two days to simply get back in the groove of things.
“It’s feeling good,” Ennis told Philahoops. “I’m getting back in the groove of things, but it’s feeling good.”
Although he’s feeling good, both Ennis and Wright stopped short of committing that the guard would definitely appear in any of the games in the Bahamas, starting Thursday afternoon against USC. Wright did say that he is sure that Ennis would be able to play, but they just have to see where he is in terms of physical shape.
“I think he’ll be able to play, I just don’t know how much we can use him yet,” Wright told Philahoops. “We’ll just have to monitor him.”
Because of his uncertain status, Wright is unsure how much he can pencil him into the rotation. The team also has an unusual week because of the travel. They practiced Sunday and Monday, will use Tuesday to travel, and then likely practice at least once after they arrive at the tournament site.
That schedule being the case, Wright said he will “probably” know by Wednesday night whether he can use the former Rice guard at his disposal against the Trojans. Ennis said it will be the coaches’ decision on whether he plays or not.
“I’m practicing, going through everything, and it’s going to be Coach’s decision, he’s going to talk to me and everything like that, and we’ll decide when the game comes,” Ennis told Philahoops.
Despite the uncertainty on how much he can use him, if at all, Wright reiterated that Ennis looked good in practice. He said the only thing he was suffering from was the timing, something that will improve over time and reps.
“He looked pretty good,” Wright told Philahoops. “His timing was off a little bit, but he was pretty good.”
Another thing Ennis has going for him in his attempt to play is that he has no physical limits on the court. He has been able to be a complete participant in practice, and there was not anything his hand limited him from doing.
“No, I’m good with everything the team does,” he told Philahoops.
The game circumstances may ultimately be what dictates whether Ennis plays or not. If the score is comfortable enough, or decided enough to the point Wright can let Ennis get his feet wet, that may be the ideal scenario. There may be other scenarios and roles in the game Wright could use Ennis that may not be the same full role he will ultimately fill. After the game Friday, Wright told Philahoops’ Aaron Bracy that they will explore using Ennis in other ways that just attempting shots.
“I’m going to have to convince him he’s going to have to rebound and play defense first,” Wright said. “He’s not going to jack up shots right away. We’ll see how that goes.”
Furthermore, Wright may also want to use Ennis to get guys each off their feet for a few minutes a game. He alluded to some collective tiredness from the team, and this week has limited their practice time. Ennis could be a nice option to spell James Bell or Darrun Hilliard throughout the course of the game.
Regardless of whatever role he has, or how much he initially plays, Ennis is looking forward to finally getting back out on the court. After transferring to Villanova after his freshman season at Rice University in 2011-12, Ennis was forced to sit out all of last year, per transfer rules. Then, two weeks before he was looking to make his team debut, he broke the bone in his hand.
Now, he just wants to be on the court with his teammates and join in on their undefeated start to the season.
“I just want to play with my team and everything. I just want to go play a game with them against someone else,” he declared.