On Tuesday night, Henry Ellenson sank a jumper for Marquette, giving the Golden Eagles a 71-64 lead with 7:20 left to play in the game.
Ellenson also appeared to roll his left ankle very severely on the play. He was immediately removed from the game, with Haanif Cheatham replacing him in the lineup, and he was escorted to the locker room by Marquette's athletic training staff. The staff would eventually return to the bench, but Ellenson did not.
It looked like he was in a great deal of pain on the BMO Harris Bradley Center floor, and while he was putting weight on his leg when leaving the arena, it seemed like it wasn't all that much weight.
With just one regular season game remaining: should head coach Steve Wojciechowski and his staff shut Henry Ellenson down for the year?
Forget for a minute that Ellenson is likely leaving for the NBA draft after the season. Just take MU's season by itself into consideration. With Marquette's NCAA hopes completely pinned to the unlikely outcome of winning the Big East tournament in New York next week, and the NIT looking kind of shaky depending on how many one-bid leagues have their regular season champs lose in the conference tournament, what's the point of prodding a not-100% Ellenson into the lineup on Saturday against Butler? Or even into a game (or two? or three???) at Madison Square Garden? Isn't MU best served by having the healthiest players on the floor for those games to try to prolong their season as long as possible instead of watching the team's best player hobble up and down the court on a bum wheel?
We're talking about a 6'11" dude whose best feature, ultimately, is that he's freakishly agile for that size. If he's up to "well, it can't get worse" status at some point in the next 10 days, is trotting him out there with that agility hampered really helpful to what Marquette's trying to accomplish on the court?
I'm not even saying that keeping him sidelined is the right answer. Maybe 80% of Henry Ellenson is good enough to still perform well. Look what he did in the second half of last year's Wisconsin state tournament semifinals. He played with a broken hand, for crying out loud, and still ended up with 26 points and 12 rebounds. About half of that production came after he busted his hand in a freak injury, so maybe he's capable of enduring a bit of discomfort and still being helpful to a very young and not that very deep Golden Eagles team.
UPDATE: Marquette announced on Wednesday afternoon that Ellenson is day-to-day with a left ankle sprain.
What do you think?