No timetable has been declared for Marist junior Jay Bowie, who took a hit to the head in practice in December and was evaluated for concussion-like symptoms.
The junior has been sidelined from practice and has not participated since being evaluated for a potential concussion. Bowie started all 10 games he played in at the power forward spot, averaging 7.5 points per game.
“We miss him,” Marist head coach Chuck Martin said. “We just don’t know when he’s coming back.”
Since being ruled out on December 21, Bowie has missed three games for the Red Foxes.
“[We’re] just playing it by ear and hoping that the doctor allows him to come back sooner than later,” Martin said. “We’ve kept him out of practice; no physical, no contact, nothing.”
Injuries have been a theme that has hit the upstart Red Foxes most this season with Bowie’s injury among the most painful. Freshman guard Khallid Hart was ruled out for the season with a leg injury prior to the start of the year and junior Adam Kemp was held back in November at the Old Spice Classic with bronchitis, unable to play for more than 25 minutes over the stretch of three games in four days.
Bowie’s absence has forced Martin to make adjustments to his starting five. This past Sunday, Martin employed a big lineup with true freshman Phillip Lawrence making his first start at Canisius and scoring a career-high 7 points.
“He played great,” Martin said of Lawrence’s first start. “He’s bouncy and he’s got a competitive spirit that I really like.”
Lineup shuffles have added sophomore Manny Thomas and he has started the last three games. Thomas has scored 39 points in the team’s last four games.
Martin has also worked Kemp and freshman Eric Truog, both 6’10” big men, into the game together for spurts to create offense and offset some of Bowie’s production.
“I’ve been playing more of my bigs together,” Martin said. “They wont play together for long periods of time but I’ll steal a minute here or two minutes there with a really big lineup. That’s helped me with rebounding and I may have not have done if it wasn’t for Jay Bowie[‘s injury].”
“[Bowie] plays bigger [than 6’5″ frame] but he’s been out so I’ve had to improvise and I miss him. I miss his toughness and I miss his production.”
Bowie has been a critical piece in three of Marist’s four wins so far this season, pulling down a game-high 9 rebounds in the Red Foxes 50-33 win over Vanderbilt at the Old Spice Classic as well as scoring 11 points in just 17 minutes in Marist’s MAAC opening win against Manhattan.
In the meantime, Martin said he will vary his starting lineup based on the matchups in conference play.
“Depending on who we play we’re going to make adjustments [to the lineup] game to game,” Martin said.
Marist will take on pressing teams like Iona and Manhattan this weekend as they get set to play four of their next seven on the road.
“I still feel like we’re on track,” Martin said. “I feel like we’re getting better, I feel like we’re improving despite some of the adversity that we’re facing.”
“I think it’s going to pay off, I really do.”