As the final seconds ticked away on Clemson’s win over Wake Forest as well as the Tigers’ six-game losing streak, all Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall could do was watch.
Other than supporting their teammates in spirit, Clemson’s starting frontcourt players didn’t contribute to the Tigers’ 80-69 victory Wednesday inside Littlejohn Coliseum, the first time that’s happened in the same game all season. Tyson and Hall looked on in street clothes while seated next to each other on the bench.
Hall was sporting a walking boot on his left foot. Tyson didn’t have a sling supporting his surgically repaired collarbone, a good sign for the senior forward in his desire to return to the court at some point this season.
With three games left in the regular season followed by the ACC Tournament, Clemson coach Brad Brownell updated the statuses of Tyson and Hall following Wednesday’s game. He confirmed Tyson is inching closer to a return.
Tyson, Clemson’s third-leading scorer, sustained the broken clavicle in Clemson’s win over Florida State back on Feb. 2 and hasn’t played in the seven games since. Earlier this week, Tyson posted a photo to his Instragram story of himself shooting a basketball with a caption that read, “Soon.”
Brownell said Tyson did some team work during practice Monday and Tuesday. Tyson won’t be available Saturday when Clemson plays at Boston College, but Brownell said there’s a chance he could return before the conference tournament, which starts March 8 in Brooklyn.
“I don’t know if he could play Wednesday (against Georgia Tech). I don’t know,” Brownell said. “It’s hard for me to speculate. He’s trying to get ready for next week maybe. We’ll see if he can get there.”
As for Hall, Brownell said the Tigers’ leading scorer is “day to day” with the left foot injury that flared up on him over the weekend against Louisville. Hall left that game less than 2 minutes in and didn’t return. Brownell said earlier this week that an X-ray of Hall’s foot came back negative.
“He’s had the medical people look at it,” Brownell said. “We’ve sent it off to NBA folks and doctors, and I think everybody feels like he can still play as long as he feels like his foot is OK. He just needs to rest it for a lot of time. If he feels OK, he’ll play. It wasn’t good (Wednesday), so there was no chance of putting him out there.”
Hall has described the injury as a stress reaction that he’s been dealing with for much of the season and even going back to his prep days at Dorman High School. Hall said last month he didn’t envision needing corrective surgery, though he didn’t rule it out if the injury got worse.
Brownell said Wednesday it could be in the cards once the season is over.
“He’s had a little problem with it in high school, so I don’t know if there’s something structurally they’re looking at that could be problematic,” Brownell said. “We haven’t gone all the way to that point yet, but that certainly is a possibility.”
With Hall and Tyson unavailable, Clemson’s current frontcourt rotation consists of senior forward Naz Bohannon and true freshmen Ian Schieffelin and Ben Middlebrooks. Schieffelin got his fifth straight start at Tyson’s power forward spot against Wake Forest and finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Middlebrooks made his first career start in place of Hall, notching two rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes.
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