LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette forward Bryce Washington knows how he’s going to spend his holidays: off his feet.
The sophomore from New Orleans has been playing through some knee pain, and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to rest up with a busy conference slate looming.
“I’m getting there,” Washington said. “It’s going to be a long process for me. I see (athletic trainer B.J. Duplantis) every day, he takes care of me a lot. I get treatment every day.
“This break is going to be real big for me to stay off my knee, ice it, keep doing treatment. Hopefully once conference starts, I’ll be real close to 100 percent.”
Washington played a season-high 30 minutes in Monday’s game against UNO and responded with his best totals of the year in points (16) and rebounds (10).
It was the first time he topped 19 minutes in a game since his knee injury forced him to sit out against Loyola on Nov. 25.
Washington isn’t the only player who could benefit from a little time off. Coach Bob Marlin said Devonta Walker has continued to be limited thanks to a bout with tendinitis.
After starting the season with double-digit scoring efforts in three of his first four games, Walker’s been held to six points or less in each of his past four games.
“Bryce will need some time off, Devonta’s had some tendinitis and hasn’t been playing up to par,” Marlin said. “I think it will do all our guys some good to step away for a couple of days.”
The team in general has been leg weary in Marlin’s estimation thanks to a rigorous travel schedule that featured six of the team’s first nine games on the road.
It was especially evident during a three-game road swing against Louisiana Tech, UCLA and Pepperdine.
“It was a tough trip, a long trip, and I think the three games all packaged together took a toll on our legs and our bodies a little bit,” Marlin said. “This time will be very good to rest their legs.”
Every game counts
The next time the Cajuns take the court, the game won’t mean anything in the standings, but that doesn’t mean it’s without purpose.
The Cajuns will return to action Dec. 30 in an exhibition against Spring Hill College. Though it seems odd to play an exhibition in the middle of the regular season, Marlin said it will be beneficial for his team, which will face Appalachian State in its conference home opener two days later.
“They know that it’s an opportunity to get in a rhythm again and play two games in a week,” Marlin said. “I think it comes at a perfect time, to be honest. We had a bye on the first round of the conference schedule, everybody will be playing on the 30th except for us, so we decided to play these guys as an exhibition to be prepared for Appalachian State.”
See ya next week
With Christmas approaching and more than a week until their next competition, the Cajuns hit the road to spend time with their families.
Marlin said his team started leaving town after the game Monday night, and they will not have to report back until Dec. 26.
As for himself, Marlin does not have any specific plans to leave town over the holidays, though he did plan on watching his daughter play for her high school junior varsity team Tuesday night.