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Pitt Head Coach Jeff Capel Updates John Hugley’s Injury Status Ahead of Backyard Brawl

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PITTSBURGH — Following Monday night’s season-opening victory over UT Martin, Pitt head coach Jeff Capel provided an important update on the status of star big man John Hugley, who suffered a knee injury in practice about six weeks ago.

“He wasn’t close to playing tonight,” Capel said about Hugley. “There was no way he was going to play tonight. He got cleared, he’ll start doing on-the-court stuff, so we’ll get in the gym with him tomorrow probably on an individual basis.”

Hugley injured his knee back on Friday, Sept. 30 during practice. While the details of the injury were not released, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported back on Oct. 13 that Hugley was expected to be available for the opener on Nov. 7, however, with Capel’s update on Monday, it seems as though Hugley still has some important recovering to do before he takes the court at full strength.

“The biggest thing is that John has not played, he has not done anything for, I think it’s been six weeks,” Capel said. “He got hurt the last Friday of the first week of practice. So I don’t know the exact date, we started on the 26th, that was Monday, so whatever date that Friday was, that’s when he got hurt. He has not done anything since then, so the biggest thing with him is going to see how he responds to after workouts, and then getting him in game shape. Those are going to be the two biggest issues.”

Hugley averaged 14.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore, earning All-ACC honorable mention honors.

Junior William Jeffress also missed Monday night’s contest with an injury (foot). Jeffress was initially expected to be back for the opener as well, but is still in a boot and will therefore miss the West Virginia game, per Capel.

“I think Will [Jeffress] will have another evaluation,” Capel said about Jeffress. “He’s off the crutches. He’s still in the boot. I think we will get him out of the boot on Monday, and then we will see from there.”

The Panthers take on West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl on Friday, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. from the Petersen Events Center.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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