Knee Bruise Sidelines Bates Against Wake Forest

Brett Friedlander

The last time the NC State basketball team played at PNC Arena, Manny Bates had the best game of his career -- piling up personal bests of 15 points and 10 rebounds in a key ACC win against Pittsburgh.

Friday on Senior Night, Bates didn't playing at all.

The redshirt freshman, who leads the ACC in blocked shots, was held out of the Wolfpack's regular season finale against Wake Forest because of what Kevin Keatts described as a "a little knee bruise." 

"I wanted him to go through warmups today just to kind of see how he felt," Keatts said. "At the end of the day, he probably could’ve played. But I wanted to hold him out. 

"It was Senior night, so I knew I was starting Danny (Dixon). I knew Danny was going to be in the rotation, so I wanted to be cautious with (Bates) because we need him more with the (ACC) tournament coming up. He should be fine."

Dixon ended up scoring a career-high 10 points in Bates' place to help the Wolfpack roll to an important 84-64 win at PNC Arena.

Keatts said that Bates' injury was self-inflicted, which is somewhat ironic considering that earlier this season, the aggressive youngster accidentally sent teammates C.J. Bryce and D.J. Funderburk to the sidelines because of contact while trying to block shots.

Bates also spent two games in concussion protocol after taking a blow to the back of the neck in a win against Clemson on Jan. 18.

"What’s the crazy thing is that he hurt himself to get hurt," Keatts said. "I don’t even think anyone bumped into him.”

Bates sat out last season with his second shoulder surgery in as many years, but has been a steady performer for the Wolfpack this season -- especially on the defensive end.

The 6-foot-11 Fayetteville native is averaging 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 65.3 percent from the floor. 

His 82 blocked shots are already a school freshman record. He ranks sixth in the nation in that category and is vying to become only the second State player to lead the ACC in blocks, joining BeeJay Anya in 2013-14.