By Paul Suellentrop
Tribune News Service
HONOLULU -- Wichita State junior Evan Wessel, right ankle wrapped in ice, sat and watched Wichita State's practice on Sunday at the Sheriff Center. When he is not doing light exercise to rehab the sprain, his goal is to reduce the swelling.
Wessel suffered a bad sprain in Tuesday's win over Alabama when he landed awkwardly after a rebound basket. He is not expected to play on Monday against Loyola Marymount in the Diamond Head Classic and any action beyond that looks unlikely in Hawaii.
"I'm doing game-ready things, like ice and compression," he said. "I'm doing different strength exercises, balancing exercises. I'm working to get the swelling out as a fast as I can."
When Wessel landed on Tuesday, his ankle folded over and anybody who saw the replay cringed. He tried to play in the second half before the pain and lack of mobility forced him to the bench.
"I wasn't really sure what happened," he said. "I'm just glad nothing was broken."
Wessel, a 6-foot-4 forward, has started all nine games for No. 11 Wichita State and he averages 4.2 points and 4.0 rebounds. He is considered WSU's best screener and coach Gregg Marshall values his hustle and ability to grab rebounds and loose balls. Wessel's 14 offensive rebounds rank third on the team.
His absence decreases WSU's depth and will force some of the team's eight scholarship newcomers into larger roles. Marshall said he is deciding on a starter and could choose from freshmen Rauno Nurger or Rashard Kelly or junior Bush Wamukota. While those three are bigger than Wessel, they can't match his understanding of WSU's offensive and defensive schemes.
"It takes one of our veterans leaders, guys that know how to play, away from the equation," Marshall said. "Somebody else has to fill that void."