In Saturday’s loss at Clemson, Virginia coach Tony Bennett says Darion Atkins was “playing on pretty much half a leg.”
Now the sophomore forward might not be playing at all.
An MRI of Atkins’ injured right shin has revealed a stress reaction, Bennett said during his radio show on Monday evening.
“We’ll kind of take it a week at a time and shut him down and just see where we’re at,” Bennett said. “It’s unfortunate, but we have to try to get him to where he can play.
“His game is about activity, his game is blocking shots and movement, and when he’s limited to really one good leg, it’s not enough. We’re going to do everything we can to get him right.”
Bennett added: “I can’t give you too much of a prognosis. We’ll take it a week at a time, reevaluate and see where he’s at.”
If Atkins isn’t available for Saturday’s home game against Florida State, Bennett said freshmen Mike Tobey and Evan Nolte would have to step up. In addition, he said Joe Harris could see time at the 4.
Atkins had just two points and a rebound in 15 minutes of action on Saturday.
“When you watch on tape, he [was] certainly favoring the leg and he’s not the same as he was earlier,” Bennett said. “Sometimes you can play if you’re not quite 100 percent, but you’ve got to be close, especially with the way Darion plays.”
In the first 12 games of the season, Atkins averaged 8.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 24.0 minutes.
In the last four, he’s averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes.
Atkins’ injury has impacted Virginia the most on defense. Earlier in the season, the 6-foot-8, 222-pounder successfully guarded the likes of Wisconsin’s Jared Berggren, North Texas’ Tony Mitchell and Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, paving the way to Wahoo wins.
But on Saturday, Clemson big men Devin Booker and Milton Jennings had their way on the interior.
“When he’s not able to get out on screens and show as much or just be as active, it does affect him and probably does affect our defense ... more than most guys probably,” Bennett said.
In other injury news, Bennett said junior forward Akil Mitchell was held out of practice on Monday so that he could rest his sprained ankle.
“Hopefully he can get over the hump with that,” Bennett said.