LARAMIE — It can be tough to limit Justin James’ minutes.
Wyoming head coach Allen Edwards had hoped to do so when the Cowboys played at Oregon State and James was still recovering from an ankle injury. James ended up playing 29 minutes and scoring 19 points. Before Sunday’s game against New Mexico Highlands, Edwards said he wasn’t sure how much he would play James, as the junior guard was healing from a cut in his lip. James played the fifth most minutes of any Cowboy and scored 15 points in the 83-70 win.
James had missed Wyoming’s previous game against No. 12 Cincinnati in the Cayman Islands Classic championship with the injury.
“It’s good,” James said of his lip. “It’s getting better. I’m wearing this big mouthpiece, so it’s getting better. I’ll be good.”
James cut the lip in Wyoming’s game against Louisiana in the second round of the three-day tournament. It was an act of friendly fire that cost him the rest of that game and all of the next one.
“I was going up for a rebound and (sophomore center Andrew Moemeka), my teammate, elbowed me, and my teeth went through the top of my lip, the bottom two,” James said. “So they just glued it up. The inside’s already healed, so I’ll be good. I’ll be 100 percent by Wednesday for sure.”
Wyoming was still without freshman Anthony Mack on Sunday. He has yet to play for Wyoming because of a concussion.
“My thing to Mack was just, ‘Let it takes its course,’” Edwards said. “Just don’t try to rush it. Could he be used? Definitely so, but I think health in this case is more important than basketball right now.
“So my conversation with Anthony was more about just letting it take its course and just worry about getting back healthy before we even worry about playing basketball.”
Mack has not been on Wyoming’s bench during games because the environment would be bad for his condition.
“Noise and light and all that stuff,” Edwards said.