Utah State's injury curse keeps striking
There are no easy answers. Utah State is up against a wall of mounting injuries, and there's very little it can do.
The last of the Aggies' options when it comes to depth was used up Thursday: Connor Garner came onto the floor, his redshirt year now over. The walk-on didn't make a shot in the final minutes of the game.
Utah State now must hope he can.
There's no emergency parachute, no escape pod - there's no way out of this mess. It's nobody's fault, really, just a bolt of lightning hitting the same team over and over.
Spencer Butterfield was carried off the court during the game, then went to a local hospital some time afterward. The Aggies all have their fingers crossed hoping he can make it back.
It would appear the injury could thrust TeNale Roland who has been playing better into the starting lineup. Garner might be the only back-up for guards at three positions. There may still be more experimental lineups ahead, perhaps testing Clifford at the 3-spot and Shaw and Stone more at the four. It's hard to say, because there's not a lot of chess pieces to work with.
The biggest problem is that the injuries have struck in Utah State's leadership. Preston Medlin, the preseason WAC player of the year. Kyisean Reed, the team's only senior. Danny Berger was very much glue to the team, an unselfish starter.
When injuries dictated that Butterfield needed to become a leader, he assumed the role with pride. He stood out in ways few expected when he had first arrived at Utah State. And now injuries have claimed him, too.
There's now only seven scholarship players left, and Garner is the only extra relief. Everyone else is either not eligible or hurt. The Aggies are still hoping Medlin can make a miraculous comeback, but a slow-healing wrist makes that a huge question mark.
What more can the Aggies do? Wish, hope, wait and play. Even if playing has punished them far beyond their fair share.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon