Following Virginia’s 82-54 win over Georgia Tech on Sunday, freshman Mike Tobey laughed when a reporter asked him if he had thought about how he had contracted mononucleosis.
“I definitely shared a glass with the wrong person I guess,” Tobey joked.
Playing for his first time since Super Bowl Sunday in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets, Tobey had seven points and four rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.
“I’m good right now,” said Tobey, when asked how he felt. “It’s just limited minutes right now until I get back in the swing of things because they don’t want me to relapse.”
Tobey received a nice ovation when he checked into the game midway through the first half.
Tobey’s first shot was an airball off a lefty jump hook. He then missed his next two shots before hitting three of his next four, which included a 3-pointer and a dunk.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said Tobey, who had only two practices under his belt, looked like he didn't have any "lead in his pencil."
“I thought he looked a little leg weary or needed a little more energy," Bennett said. “But I thought those were good minutes for him, good action. There’s a pace and a timing when you’re in a game that’s a little different than practice.”
Tobey said he knew something might be wrong with him just before the Feb. 3 game in Atlanta in which Bennett said it looked like he had been “shot by a tranquilizer dart.”
“I was super out of it,” said the 6-foot-11 center, “but a couple of the other games before that I couldn’t get the energy. I had to drink a lot of Gatorade. I was just playing on a sugar high.”
Tobey said he lost some weight during the ordeal, but is now back to his original playing weight of 240 pounds.
“I guess I didn’t have it that bad,” Tobey said, “but you’re tired all the time and my throat was really swollen, and I couldn’t eat at a certain point because it just got really closed.”
Tobey said a little home cooking really helped, though.
“My mom came down and took care of me for a little while – she babied me,” said the smiling 18-year-old. “That was great.”
Nobody is happier about Tobey’s return to the court than Virginia forward Akil Mitchell, who has been battling bigger players on a more regular basis since Tobey went down.
“[Now] I get a break every once in a while,” said Mitchell, smiling. “I can afford a foul here and there and I don’t have to guard a 7-footer every night.
“But [Tobey] does so much more than [defend]. He’s getting buckets, he’s scoring. When he’s locked in, he’s doing well on the defensive end, too. He’s a huge addition.”
Virginia will most certainly need Tobey – along with a healthier Darion Atkins – against No. 6 Duke on Thursday night.
“I’m really looking forward to the game against Duke,” Tobey said.