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UNR’s 3 best players battling injuries entering UNLV game

Updated February 26, 2019 - 3:58 pm

RENO — UNR basketball coach Eric Musselman sounded like a football coach talking about his injury report.

Caleb Martin has foot and ankle injuries.

Cody Martin has a bruised hip bone.

Jordan Caroline has a sore Achilles’ tendon.

Whether those injuries to the three senior standouts keep them out of Wednesday’s 8 p.m. game against UNLV is another question, but the Rebels went to Lawlor Events Center last season and upset a short-handed Wolf Pack team.

Unfortunately for UNLV (15-12, 9-6 Mountain West), Jovan Mooring isn’t walking back into its locker room. He scored 31 points in the 86-78 victory as Caleb Martin sat out with a foot injury.

So it probably will require a more complete team effort for the Rebels to knock off the 12th-ranked Wolf Pack (25-2, 12-2). UNR cruised in the first meeting at the Thomas &Mack Center, 87-70.

UNLV has found success on the road, going 5-4 with three consecutive victories.

“I feel like we’ve been locked in, especially coming toward the end of the season,” Rebels guard Kris Clyburn said. “It’s a very important stretch.”

The Rebels’ winning road streak has come against the bottom portion of the league, so how much that prepares them for a team such as UNR is debatable.

UNLV hasn’t posted a winning road record since 9-4 in 2010-11 . The Rebels have two road games remaining, at UNR and the regular-season finale March 9 at Colorado State.

UNLV coach Marvin Menzies didn’t want to make too much of the road wins, saying timing often influences outcomes.

“I think we were the better team those nights, not necessarily because we were on the road, it was because we were just the better team,” he said. “You’ve got to be playing your best basketball when it comes to March, period. If you do that, you give yourself a chance to get to postseason, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Maybe timing will help the Rebels as they prepare for a less-than-healthy Wolf Pack team. Caleb Martin didn’t practice Monday and Tuesday, and a decision on his status will be made Wednesday.

“As a coach, you want players to be available for games more so than practice, and our team docs and trainers in my time here have done an awesome job of getting guys ready to play,” said Musselman, who is in his fourth season. “Hopefully, this will be the same on Wednesday, but we really haven’t had guys sitting out for little, marginal injuries. The players, to their credit, take their rehab really serious.”

Caroline and the Martin twins combine to average 48.3 points, so they’re availability is crucial. Not facing Caleb Martin last season gave UNLV the opening to pull off the upset.

“Having coached in the NBA, I understand what we do on Monday and Tuesday is not as important as 8 o’clock at night on Wednesday,” Musselman said. “As crazy as I am, I’m not going to make them practice when they’re hurt or even when they’re nicked up. There’s nobody more paranoid when I hear somebody has a cold or I see his eyes where he looks a little sleepy from the flu.

“It doesn’t mean I won’t play a guy 40 minutes if he’s banged up because I will.”

More Rebels: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJ_Sportson Twitter.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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