Staten Adds Injury to Insult in Texas Loss - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Staten Adds Injury to Insult in Texas Loss

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MORGANTOWN -

Less than 12 minutes remained in the action Thursday night and as fans headed for the exits, it would have been understandable if any of West Virginia's players on the court felt like calling it a night, too.

Facing a 27-point deficit, Juwan Staten was trying to give the Mountaineers something to build on when he found his own pass to end his night. It wasn't at all the way he would have planned his exit from the Big 12 Tournament.

The junior point guard looked to roll his ankle as he went up for a layup in transition and immediately grasped for his leg as he limped passed the cheerleaders on the baseline. There was a moment of hesitation as to what he should do next. Would he return to the game or call it a night? One look at team doctor Randy Meador was all Staten needed for his answer.

"When I first rolled it, I thought I would just be able to tighten my shoe up and get back out there, but when I tried to put pressure on it, it's just a sharp pain that was going through there," said Staten. "Doc [Meador] told me that I pretty much need to get some ice on it."

Shortly thereafter, Staten reemerged from the locker room, limping to the team bench to join the rest of the Mountaineers. The game had not improved without his help and ultimately he was made to endure a 66-49 loss from the sideline.

It was easily Staten's worst showing of the year with just four points on 1-of-11 shooting on a season-low 28 minutes of action, but the helpless feeling that accompanied his injury was more difficult to take than his own ineffectiveness on the court.

"It was really tough. Seeing my teammates out there playing, trying to fight back, watching from the sideline is a bad feeling," said Staten. "I just felt like I was kind of letting my teammates down because I wanted to be out there with them. It's just a bad feeling."

Staten just wrapped up a regular season in which he was named to the All-Big 12 first team and the conference defensive team. He has experienced his share of personal successes along the way, but his goals have always been for the team.

Typically, he keeps a level head following both wins and losses and the team captain gives an even-keeled, informative interview. Thursday night, it was evident that the ineptitude WVU displayed was enough to break Staten down a bit, to get him to show the true feeling that comes with an embarrassing, dream-crushing game.

After other losses this season, like the 83-66 setback at Iowa State, Staten has pointed out the difference between practice and games. The biggest aspect that he says is absent from games, but plays a big role in practice, is the dreaded treadmill.

Fail to get back on defense, don't show the effort the coaches expect, you're running in practice. Officials don't blow whistles to allow for that kind of teaching point on game night.

"In practice, the coaches are allowed to stop practice and point out things when they don't go right or punish somebody when they're doing wrong. In the game, you don't have that luxury," said Staten. "We've just got to get to the point where we don't have to be told what to do and get to the point where we actually stick with our game plan for 40 minutes and execute it no matter what's going on on the court."

Eron Harris, Staten's backcourt mate and WVU's second-leading scorer, seemed perplexed after the game that his Mountaineers could beat the Big 12's regular season champion yet fall three times in decisive fashion to Texas.

Harris knows in the past that he and his teammates have responded well to losses and come back to prove something. He hopes that can happen again as WVU prepares for whatever the postseason brings.

"We have to be hungry, but we also have to be disciplined mentally and we also have to be disciplined when it comes to the game plan consistently," said Harris.

That has been a struggle, to say the least, this season. All the way at the end of the season, the ups and downs of this team are evident.

As of Thursday night, Staten had not received word as to the extent of his injury, but said he would meet with team doctors to determine the severity and ultimately the next step to get back on the court.

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