Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Any timetable for Thames?
By Matt Giles
Ever since he tweaked his back in early January, Xavier Thames has been hobbled whenever he takes the court. He has missed two games -- one a win against Fresno State but the other a loss to Wyoming -- and when he has played, it's clear he is no match defensively against the Mountain West conference's various backcourts; during the Colorado State overtime win, Dorian Green was able to penetrate the lane with ease and the Rams used various screens for Green to curl around without fear that Thames would be able to contain the CSU guard.
Steve Fisher was concerned about Thames' lack of defensive impact, deciding whether to give the guard some rest, and while recent reports reveal Thames' back is feeling better, it could be some time before he is able to return at full-strength. One might ask, on a team as deep in the backcourt as San Diego State, how does his absence necessarily hurt the Aztecs? Per David Carter, Nevada coach and SDSU's next opponent, Thames "...brings the composure to the team. They're always under control. There's a sense of urgency when he's on the floor."
While Thames rehabilitates, Fisher has turned to Winston Shepard to help run SDSU's offense, and so far, the 6-foot-8 Shepard has performed ably in his expanded role, converting 47 percent of his attempts within the arc against Wyoming and UNLV. Fisher turned to a small lineup against the Rebels, and while Skylar Spencer will see more minutes against some of the MWC's bigger teams (e.g. Colorado State and Wyoming), the smaller lineup has worked well.