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Moraga, Calif. • On Tuesday, Yoeli Childs left practice early after banging up his right index finger. After practice, coach Mark Pope said Childs would be “fine.”

Yet, Wednesday morning, I learned that Yoeli was wearing a splint and visited a hand and wrist specialist in Provo.

I’ll be honest with y’all — I haven’t been around lately. I left Dec. 31 to Texas for a family emergency, came straight to California for Thursday’s game against Saint Mary’s and have yet to set foot in Utah so far in 2020, so I wasn’t around to see Yoeli get injured in practice.

However, I did still reach out to BYU officials to double-check Childs’ injury wasn’t more severe than it was initially feared. And the news is the same — he is expected to play against the Gaels.

So, no breaking news there.

But if Childs would have to sit out a game, how bad would it be for the Cougars?

Well, BYU hasn’t won at Saint Mary’s in its last five tries. This specific road contest is one of the toughest for the Cougars in the West Coast Conference, but on the plus side — the Cougars learned how to win without their All-WCC big man.

And let’s not forget the Cougars have had to deal with more than their share of adversity during the offseason. Childs was forced to serve an NCAA-mandated nine-game suspension at the start of the season, Zac Seljaas broke his foot during the exhibition tour of Italy in August, TJ Haws underwent a knee arthroscopy that completely sidelined the senior for weeks and Gavin Baxter suffered a severe shoulder injury during a preseason practice.

So, if the deck feels a little stacked against the Cougars, it’s not like it’s anything new. I know I’ll be interested to see how BYU responds.

Thursday game is certainly the Cougars’ biggest challenge yet, but it should be a fun one to watch. Saint Mary’s took Pacific into quadruple overtime a few days ago. Sadly for the Gaels, it didn’t end in their favor.

But it bodes well for a lively night at University Credit Union Pavilion.

More BYU coverage

BYU gymnastics is ranked — and looking to make a trip to nationals this season under fifth-year coach Guard Young.

Gordon Monson takes a look at how former BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall’s program culture is resulting in wins at Virginia.

The BYU men’s basketball team, led by Yoeli Childs, opens West Coast Conference play with a 63-38 win over Loyola Marymount.

The BYU football team still made improvements and progress during the 2019 season, even if it didn’t show up in their 7-6 finish.

Dave Rose led the men’s basketball team for 14 years, then he retired and Mark Pope came along. And the Cougars haven’t missed a beat throughout the coaching staff change.

Other voices

Sean Walker of KSL Sports takes a look at locals in the NFL playoffs, including former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, who continues to serve as the Saints’ Swiss Army Knife, with his passing, running and receiving abilities.

Portland broke a 20-game losing streak to BYU women’s basketball when the Pilots handed the Cougars a 57-48 loss, Darnell Dickson of the Daily Herald wrote.

Jeff Call of the Deseret News breaks down how BYU men’s basketball has overcome a great deal of adversity to find itself with a 12-4 overall record midway through the season.

Around campus

• BYU track and field will host their first meet of 2020 with the BYU Indoor Invitational Thursday-Saturday at Smith Fieldhouse. The three-day meet will include athletes from Utah Valley, Southern Utah and Westminster.

“This is going to be a great meet because it’s the first one that counts in terms of qualifying for nationals and getting school records or top-10 marks,” BYU coach Ed Eyestone said. “We had some phenomenal performances at the intrasquad meet when the team was not in uniform. We’re excited to see all those that performed there, compete again this weekend.”

• No. 3 BYU men’s volleyball will host No. 15 Penn State in its home opener in the Smith Fieldhouse on Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m.). The Cougars are 13-6 all-time against the Nittany Lions and are currently on an eight-match win streak. BYU is coming off consecutive wins over ranked opponents as the Cougars opened the season with four-set victories over No. 6 Lewis and No. 11 Loyola Chicago.

• BYU women’s tennis will begin the 2020 season on the road at the University of Hawai’i Invitational in Honolulu Thursday-Saturday. Senior Kate Cusick Truman, juniors Madeline Almeida Wanlass and Leah Heimuli, sophomores Morgan Hall Curtis and freshmen Emilee Astle, Emma Jewell and Helen Jiao will represent the Cougars in the tournament. Hawai’i, Louisville, Northern Arizona and Washington State will also be competing in the invitational.

• The No. 23 BYU gymnastics team defeated No. 15 Nebraska 195.750-195.600 for the first time since 1998 in the season opener. Going into BYU’s final routine of the meet, the teams were tied at 195.600 and the Cougars needed a score higher than 9.725 to take the lead. Junior Abbey Miner anchored the Cougars on floor and finished with a score of 9.875 to help BYU land the win.