Hodges, the Bucs’ versatile guard, is back in the lineup after missing five games with a groin injury.
“I’m getting better every day,” said Hodges, the Southern Conference’s freshman of the year last season. “Sometimes I might get sore, but other than that I’m getting close.”
Hodges, a 6-foot-4 sophomore who is averaging 10.8 points per game, said sitting out five games was tough to take, but he actually missed spending time on the practice court with his teammates more. That didn’t surprise ETSU coach Steve Forbes.
“He’s a player, he’s a competitor and he wants to be in there,” Forbes said. “It’s hard to hold guys out that want to be in there, but he had one of those things that took time. I’m proud of him and hopefully he stays healthy because we need him.”
Hodges suffered a foot injury during the offseason. It was bad enough to require surgery and put him behind when the preseason began.
“That was very frustrating,” he said. “When I had to sit out with my foot, and then to miss five games, that was frustrating. I’m just trying to be patient.”
Hodges returned for last weekend’s game at Wofford and scored 15 points, making 6 of 12 shots.
“It’s been really nice to have him back,” Forbes said. “I was real pleased with the way he played Saturday at Wofford without having a chance to practice. He’s really not in a rhythm yet. He hasn’t had much time to practice.”
Forbes said practice time has been at a premium for the entire team. When the 7-3 Bucs play host to UT-Martin on Saturday at 4 p.m., it will be their 11th game since Nov. 6.
“At this time of year, you don’t have a lot of time to practice,” Forbes said. “We’re playing a game about every three days. Having a bunch of new guys, this team sorely needs practice and it’s hard because not only do we not have time, we have guys hurt.”
While the Bucs practiced on Thursday, three starters — guards Patrick Good and Tray Boyd III, and center Mladen Armus — were out. Good, who is nursing a hip injury suffered in the preseason, missed Monday night’s game against Reinhardt.
“I’ll be ready to play when the time comes,” Good said. “I’m just trying to manage it the best I can, be mature about it and not try to overdo it. Some days it’s worse than others. It’s a mental thing as much as anything.”
REDSHIRT FOR CORLEY?
Forbes said a medical condition has led ETSU to apply for a medical redshirt for 7-foot center Octavion Corley. Corley has played in two games, averaging 4.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
ALVIN WEST HONORED
The late Alvin West, a member of the ETSU teams that dominated the Southern Conference in the late 1980s and early ’90s, will be honored before Saturday’s game. Family, friends and former teammates will be in attendance as the life and career of the 1,000-point scorer is celebrated.
West died in August.