Coach: Clarke injury ‘not season-ending’
by David Woods, USA TODAY Sports
DAYTON, Ohio — All of college basketball is relieved Rotnei Clarke will resume firing 3-pointers in arenas around the country. But that date can’t be specified.
Butler’s senior guard badly sprained his neck Saturday in the first half of the No. 17 Bulldogs’ 79-73 victory at Dayton.
He was fouled from behind, plunged headfirst into the padded basket support and remained on the floor for nearly eight minutes. He was transported to Miami Valley Hospital, where a CT scan was negative, and boarded the team bus for the return to Indianapolis. He was scheduled to have an MRI.
The injury “is not season-ending by any means,” coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens posted a photograph on Twitter of Clarke smiling in a hospital bed while holding up his torn No. 15 jersey.
Clarke was emotional after the spill, trainer Ryan Galloy said, but mostly because he had to leave the game. Clarke had made one three-pointer, extending to 28 his streak of games with at least one.
“Me and the doc had to tell him, ‘This is not about the game right now,’ ” Galloy said.
“When I hit my head, I rolled over and I couldn’t feel anything from my neck down. That’s what scared me the most,” Clarke said in a statement from the school.
Galloy said Clarke would be stiff and sore and probably stressed nerves in his spine. The trainer couldn’t specify when Clarke might play again.
“Ask Peyton Manning. There’s no cookbook on how anything with your neck goes,” Galloy said.
Galloy said Clarke regained feeling in his limbs shortly before he left for the hospital, and Clarke gave a thumbs-up sign to cheering fans as he departed.
Dayton’s Matt Derenbecker, who was called for an intentional foul in the incident, said that he sends “my deepest condolences” to Clarke and that he didn’t intend to injure him.
Derenbecker spoke with Stevens and told the coach he didn’t purposely injure Clarke.
Clarke entered Saturday’s game leading the Bulldogs at 17 points a game. The team is scheduled to next play Wednesday at home against Atlantic 10 foe Richmond, then host No. 8 Gonzaga on Saturday in a game on … [For more on Coach: Clarke injury 'not season-ending', click here.]