Boise State basketball's Elorriaga returns to practice, playing status still uncertain

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idhostatesman.com

Boise State junior guard Jeff Elorriaga returned to practice Monday, but his status for Wednesday's game at Colorado State remains uncertain. Elorriaga has missed five of the last six halves after suffering two concussions in a week earlier this month.

"He's making progress," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "I completely stay out of it. I'm told what's going to happen and it's not my decision and I don't want it to be."

Elorriaga suffered his first concussion against New Mexico at home on Jan. 16. He played the rest of the game, but missed the Broncos' loss at Air Force on Jan. 19. Elorriaga returned to the lineup against Fresno State on Jan. 23, but hit his head late in the first half and did not play in the second half. He missed the Broncos' loss at Nevada on Saturday.

"It's killing him so much, it's making his head hurt worse," senior center Kenny Buckner said. "He wants to be there every second he gets. If it wasn't for the coaches and the doctors telling him not to play and not to travel, he would have came and been in that battle with us."

Elorriaga is averaging 11.4 points per game. He is shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range. And his absence has been felt by the Broncos, who are 0-2 without Elorriaga.

Boise State plays at Colorado State on Wednesday and hosts UNLV on Saturday. Rice said he would not guess on Elorriaga's status for either game.

"I have no control over it nor do I want control over it," Rice said. "That this day and age in sports. All your life you've been trained to be, 'Hey, You're tough. You can get out there and play.' You don't mess around with it when it's this. It's not a matter of being tough. It's a matter of doing the right thing."

On Sunday, I wrote about the growing concussion problem in all levels of athletics.

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Don't push it, Guys

I'd rather he NOT return, and we go through another loss, than to let him come back too early and he gets injured again. You can't rush these things.

I think

coach Rice was pretty clear that it's going to be the doctors and trainers making the call. They'll do what's best for the player. They are running a classy program that places the health of its' athletes first and foremost.