Brady Manek and Jalen Hill will again be unavailable for Lon Kruger’s Sooners on Tuesday night against the TCU Horned Frogs.
“Yeah neither available, you know, they’re under the COVID protocol and won’t be there for this ballgame for sure,” Kruger said Monday during a video press conference.
The game against TCU will be the second straight the duo have missed, previously ruled out of last Saturday’s trip to play the Kansas Jayhawks.
“Other guys have to step up and do the things to pick up the slack,” Kruger said.
The Sooners' front court is shorthanded without Manek and Hill, leaving just Victor Iwuakor and Kur Kuath to rotate at center. Transfer Elijah Harkless has had to slide over to play power forward, a position he had never planned to play for OU.
Kruger confirmed they would likely deploy Harkless as their power forward again, admitting he doesn’t have much choice.
“Not much, not a lot of options,” Kruger said. “Our main concern was foul trouble with Kur and Victor, and obviously we had that even playing them one at a time.”
The toll of missing games in the middle of the conference slate is something Kruger said he is wary of while trying to keep Manek and Hill involved.
“People say, ‘well it’s just one game or two games’ but you know every game is precious, every opportunity to play is huge,” Kruger said. “So yeah, you’re concerned about, you know, how they are going through the isolation period which is tough … and then also when they do get back, you know, getting back into the rhythm, back into the flow as quickly as possible.”
For now, the Sooners will have to make due with the players available to them.
Austin Reaves will look to repeat his 32-point performance which powered the Sooners to an 82-78 win over TCU in their first matchup of the season.
Tipoff between the Sooners and the Horned Frogs is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening from the Lloyd Noble Center.