McKinley Wright has been playing through pain. On Saturday night, after re-injuring his ailing left shoulder, that pain proved too much to overcome.
As if a 77-70 loss against Washington in a Pac-12 Conference battle wasn't frustrating enough, the woes of the already-shorthanded Colorado Buffaloes were magnified when Wright left the floor at the 8 minute, 8 second mark of the first half due to a left shoulder injury.
The Buffs already were playing without guards Deleon Brown (academically ineligible) and Namon Wright, who missed his third consecutive game due to a foot injury. When Wright went down it forced Shane Gatling and freshman Daylen Kountz to pick up the slack at the top of the Buffs' attack.
"When McKinley went down I was telling my team that we've got to keep playing," Gatling said. "McKinley is a big part of our offense and defense. He's a big part of our team. At practice we play a lot without him, so we just treated this like practice playing without him. Just staying together, playing confident, playing smart."
Afterward, head coach Tad Boyle revealed that Wright has been playing through a shoulder injury he suffered in the Buffs' first workout after returning from their holiday break two weeks ago. Boyle said an MRI on the shoulder at the time revealed no structural damage, but following Saturday's loss he remained uncertain of the severity of Wright's latest setback.
"We'll get a better feel for that as we get into next week," Boyle said. "I do know he's been playing less than 100 percent. Obviously we didn't announce that to the world, but people need to understand how tough that kid is. When we went to Arizona, we weren't sure he was going to play. And he ends up playing both games. He's got the heart of a lion and that kid's toughness will never be questioned. But in terms of the injury and what the prognosis is and what it means for him the rest of the season, at this point we don't know that."
Oddly, Wright was injured on the five-year anniversary of when former CU guard Spencer Dinwiddie suffered a season-ending knee injury at Washington in 2014.
Saturday's attendance of 7,758 was the second-highest of the season, trailing only the Colorado State game (7,887)...In addition to his career-highs on 3-pointers (four) and points (22), CU's D'Shawn Schwartz also posted a career-best three steals. Schwartz previously had never recorded more than one steal in a game. Schwartz shot 13-for-22 in the two-game homestand...The Huskies' .551 shooting percentage was the third-highest by a CU opponent this season and the fourth time the Buffs have allowed the opposition to shoot at least 50 percent...Before the homestand, the Buffs had posted more assists than turnovers in just three of 14 games. They achieved that feat in both games of the homestand, finishing with 13 assists and 12 turnovers against the Huskies...UW's Matisse Thybulle went 6-for-7 at the free throw line and is 30-for-33 (.909) on the season.