Riley Grabau tried to play on Thursday.
The sophomore guard started as he usually does. But he soon had to exit the game against UC Santa Barbara, which UW won 68-40. The player who had averaged just less than 33 minutes per game this season played just three.
On his Thursday conference call, UW coach Larry Shyatt explained why.
"Riley has been suffering from some severe pain," Shyatt said.
Shyatt said Grabau's knee pain stems from an issue with his Illiotibial Band. It is common for runners or others who engage in frequent aerobic activity to a painful tightness in the band that runs from hip-to-knee as as result. Shyatt said the knee has been bothering Grabau for about two weeks.
"He gave it a shot last night and actually knocked in a shot," Shyatt said. "After about three minutes, he said, 'Coach I don't think I can help us.' He was worried he would hurt the team, because he was in so much pain. So he did not play."
The pain is a setback for Grabau, who had been off to a strong start to the season. After he was sparsely-used last season, he has started every game for UW this year. He currently averages 6.4 points and 3.3 assists per game.
With Grabua limited on Thursday, other guards played more.
Freshman guard Josh Adams tied his season-high with 28 minutes. He went 0-for-3 from the field but made four free throws, pulled down four rebounds, dished an assist and got a steal. Junior guard Nathan Sobey scored four points, an assist and a steal in 15 minutes.
"Those two guys have given us terrific energy and terrific effort," Shyatt said. "Although their stats probably don't support that, we have really relied on their effort."
Adams and Sobey will have to do more if Grabau's pain continues to keep him off the court.
Shyatt was unsure how much his starting guard would be able to do Saturday when Wyoming plays Colorado in Laramie.
"We will continue to monitor it to make sure there is nothing structural [structural damage in Grabau's knee], which we don't think there is," Shyatt said. "But it's definitely going to be day-to-day."