NCAA hoops: Trainer: Howard has 'mildest of mild' concussion
INDIANAPOLIS — Butler center Matt Howard was held out of Sunday's practice and could miss Monday night's NCAA championship game with a concussion.
Team trainer Ryan Galloy said Howard took two blows in Saturday's 52-50 victory over Michigan State, first banging his head on the floor after a violent collision with two other players and then taking an elbow to the head after he returned to the game. After the second shot, he again left the floor and did not come back.
Galloy described the injury as the "mildest of mild concussions."
"He was woozy, kind of out of it, lethargic, he had a headache," Galloy said. "After the game, he was fine. He wasn't feeling sick, he ate."
Howard, who was not available for comment Sunday, is scheduled to be re-evaluated Monday morning.
Coach Brad Stevens said Howard's status would be a game-time decision.
"His health is of numero uno priority, and if he can't play, he can't play," Stevens said. "It will have to be the next man up."
Galloy did not specify what tests Howard would undergo but said doctors and coaches expect Howard to give honest descriptions of how he feels.
"There's been a lot in the news about concussions, and it's not as cut and dry as people want to make it," Galloy said. "Matt has never had a concussion, which is good, so it's not like when you get a football player who has had five or six of them. That would be another story. Each one is different. We've had guys with mild concussions who haven't gotten better for weeks."
Howard walked into practice Sunday with his teammates wearing his usual workout gear — shorts, a white tank top and a T-shirt underneath.
If Howard cannot play, Butler would be missing its No. 3 scorer, its second-leading rebounder and its strongest post player. He averages 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds and was the 2008-09 Horizon League player of the year.
Howard's teammates, however, expect their 6-foot-8 center to be on the court against Duke.
"I talked to him this morning, and I think he will play," junior guard Zach Hahn said.