PITTSBURGH — Pitt was hoping that power forward Ryan Luther would be able to return from the stress reaction in his right foot in time for last Saturday’s ACC opener against Miami.
Instead, Luther sat out both of Pitt’s first two conference games and it appears that the Panthers will be without their leading scorer and rebounder for some time to come. Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings said on Friday that Luther will not be available as the team makes the trip to Blacksburg, Va. to visit Virginia Tech on Saturday and might still be out for several more weeks.
“It hasn’t improved really,” Stallings said. “All we can do is wait and see. We’re obviously not going to jeopardize Ryan’s future or the health of his foot or risk him to injury or anything like that. Unfortunately, the x-rays are not showing the kind of progress the doctors would need to see in order to clear him to play. Right now, we’re still in a holding pattern. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Luther was evaluated by the team’s doctors on Wednesday, an off day for the team, and isn’t scheduled to be re-evaluated until next Wednesday. After Pitt visits the Hokies on Saturday, their next game is Wednesday at home against Duke.
There is no procedure that Luther needs to undergo or any further treatment other than rest and time, a luxury Luther and the Panthers don’t have as his final season of eligibility slips idly by.
“It could be another week another two weeks, but it could be another three weeks,” Stallings said. “We just don’t know.”
Stallings said that Luther is “frustrated” by the lack of progress and not being able to help his team.
“He knows his team,” Stallings said. “He knows they need him, but he knows there’s nothing he can do about it. He’s doing a great job of being a positive force and being a positive voice with the players and his teammates.”
Luther will be joined on the injured list for the trip to Virginia Tech by senior guard Monty Boykins. Boykins will be out for at least a couple of days, according to Stallings. He was struck by an inadvertent elbow in practice this week.
Stallings said that his assistants told him that three-quarters of the team came in on their off day on Wednesday to shoot, work on skills and watch tape and that spirits remain high despite the injuries and 0-2 start to conference play.
Stallings himself wasn’t at the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday, as he was attending the funeral of his older brother. Stallings offered his Wednesday absence as a response to a question about Louisville head coach Rick Pitino calling him a “jackass.”
“I’ve had a few more important things to worry about than that,” Stallings said. “I haven’t really given it much thought, to be honest with you.”