CLEMSON – Life without Shelton Mitchell will continue for at least another game.
The redshirt junior guard still has not been cleared to return to action for the Clemson basketball team following almost a week in concussion protocol.
Clemson plays at Virginia Tech Wednesday night in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game.
“He’s not ready,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be fine by the weekend, but he needs to be able to do some more things so we’re going to leave him back here I think and just let him have a couple more days, which I think is a good decision. We’ll just have to push forward without him.”
Mitchell suffered a concussion in the final seconds of an 81-79 loss at Florida State last Wednesday and was kept overnight in a Tallahassee, Florida, hospital for observation and has been in concussion protocol since.
He missed Sunday’s 66-57 loss to Duke, but Brownell is hopeful that Mitchell will be able to play when the Tigers play host to Georgia Tech on Saturday.
First up, however, is Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum, where the Tigers are just 1-4 under Brownell.
“We’ve got our hands full,” said Brownell of the Hokies, who are the only league team to defeat Virginia this season. “It’s another big ACC game on the road.”
The two teams are separated by just one game in the loss column with four regular-season games remaining. No. 16 Clemson, which has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season, is 20-6 overall and 9-5 in the ACC while the Hokies are 19-8, 8-6.
“Our guys just want to go play well,” Brownell said. “We’ve been playing extremely hard. I told our team yesterday that last week was one of those weeks where sometimes you work hard in life and it doesn’t always pay off in wins. That’s the hard thing about sports.
“I thought our guys had great preparation in our practices all last week. We competed extremely hard in both games, but had a lot of basketball errors and that cost us opportunities for two wins, but I’m proud of the way our guys have stayed focused.”
Mitchell has been a key figure in the Tigers’ success this season, providing scoring punch (11.8 ppg.) and floor leadership. He leads the team with 96 assists and has a 1.8:1 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks among the top 15 in the league.
“He obviously would have loved to have been out there (Sunday), but that wasn’t going to happen,” Brownell said. “It’s hard to be disappointed when you know you can’t be out there. I’m sure this one will be a little tougher from the standpoint you’d like to go out there with your guys and play.
“You get 30 or 31 opportunities to do this and the guys have put in a lot of hard work to get to play in those games, and if you miss one or two, that’s disappointing. It’s something we all deal with and a lot of teams deal with.”