Men's basketball

Keita misses 2nd straight game, could play against Boston College on Wednesday

Yuki Mizuma / The Daily Orange

Baye Moussa Keita sat out his second straight game Saturday night. SU head coach Jim Boeheim said the senior center might be healthy enough to play against Boston College on Wednesday.

Baye Moussa Keita may return when Syracuse hosts Boston College on Wednesday night.

The Syracuse senior center, who’s missed the team’s last two games with a sprained right knee, ran in practice Friday and said he expects to participate fully in practice Monday.

“I just don’t want to take it too fast,” Keita said after No. 1 Syracuse’s (25-0, 12-0 Atlantic Coast) 56-55 win against North Carolina State (16-9, 6-6) on Saturday. “I don’t want to go out there, get hurt and not come back. I know that they need me out there, but I’m just going to take it one day at a time.”

The Orange survived without Keita on Saturday night, thanks mostly to a second straight 35-minute effort from junior center Rakeem Christmas. But Keita’s return would not only bolster SU’s center depth, but also take minutes off the forwards.

Excluding two first-half minutes from freshman Tyler Roberson, the Orange has played a six-man rotation for the last 80 minutes of game time.

“If I thought we could get another guy in there, I would, but I don’t think we can,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “We’re going to be a little tired, but I’d rather have C.J. (Fair) in there for 40 than somebody else in there for five that can’t do what we need them to do.”

Keita said that when he does return, he’ll have to wear a brace on the knee for the rest of the season. Strapping it up in the locker room, Keita was able to flex his leg fairly comfortably.

But he’s still being cautious. He said he’s tried to take it easy during the celebrations of SU’s two last-minute wins this week.

“This one I just stayed calm because I didn’t want to jump and sprain something else,” Keita said.

With Christmas posting 70 minutes in the last two games, Keita’s absence hasn’t hurt the Orange yet.

But he knows each game he’s stuck on the bench is one more that it could.

Said Keita: “I know (Christmas) needs some help out there. Thirty-five minutes is a long time for him.”

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