KALAMAZOO, MI – Steve Hawkins was fully engaged during his Western Michigan University basketball team’s practice Friday afternoon at University Arena as the Broncos prepared for tonight’s road game at Northern Illinois.
WMU senior Nate Hutcheson, on the other hand, probably would have preferred to skip Friday altogether. The 6-foot-7 forward sat courtside during the practice in a sweatshirt and sweatpants, much of the time with his head in his hands as he battled the effects of stomach flu.
Hawkins was non-committal about Hutcheson’s status for the Broncos’ (9-7, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) game at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) today in DeKalb, Ill., but chances are the team’s leading scorer at 11.6 points per contest will suit up against the Huskies (3-12, 1-2).
WMU senior reserve forward Dan Loney and freshman wing Charles Harris, on the other hand, will not play. Loney, who does the dirty work off the Broncos’ bench, is out with a concussion he suffered in Wednesday’s 79-56 home win over Toledo. Harris is still on the mend from a separated shoulder.
Hawkins said that several of the Broncos have had a stomach bug this season.
“I’ve had it three different times now and if it’s the same strain, which I’m not a doctor, then it was roughly a 24-hour bug,” he said after practice Friday, before the Broncos boarded the bus for their road trip to the Chicagoland area. “And so I know (Hutcheson is) pushing fluids. I don’t know if he’s still throwing up or not. I know he was last night and this morning, got the chills and all that.
“If we can keep fluids in him, it helps that the game is not until 7 (Central time) and not a 2 o’clock start. So probably every hour matters.”