SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University center Sam Dower was the center of attention Thursday when the media congregated as the Zags returned to practice following a short Christmas break.
Dower, who injured his lower back in the Bulldogs’ last outing prior to Christmas last Saturday against Kansas State University, is listed as day-to-day for the West Coast Conference opener Saturday against Santa Clara University at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Dower was injured with 3:59 to play in the first half of the Wichita Wildcat Classic in Wichita, Kans., and did not return to the contest after gingerly making his way to the bench following a hard fall under the basket.
“I’m feeling better, way better than I did when it happened Saturday,” the 6-9, 243-pounder told the media. “It was a pretty tough injury, but I’m feeling better and better each day which is a positive. The x-rays came back negative so nothing is broken.”
Dower said it’s just a day-to-day prognosis.
“Just taking it day-by-day. I want to be there (Saturday), but we’re taking it day-by-day. We don’t want to make the injury worse than it is coming back too early. We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Head coach Mark Few said it’s a “big challenge” if Dower isn’t in the line-up. “Sam’s a great offensive player and obviously has a ton of experience being a fifth-year senior. He’s an important cog in the wheel, but somebody or we collectively just need to step up.”
Few said Dower’s status will more-than-likely be a game-time decision Saturday.
“The day of the game we’ll figure out what’s going on. So much can be done between now and then. You’ve all had back situations so you know they are tricky. He’s a tough guy when it comes to injuries, so we’ll see,” Few told the media.
Dower, who did not engage in practice Thursday but did some light shooting on the sideline, said he has not seen a replay of the fall.
“I haven’t watched it. I don’t think I will,” he said.