The Metro is reporting that Brian Silverhorn is out for the upcoming American road trip with a bad knee. There is no word on what the knee problem is but Chad Lucas mentioned on his blog that he is planning on getting an MRI this week. Hopefully we’re not looking at something serious or long term. David Bailey who suffered a knee injury late in the game against Montreal is expected to make the trip and play, though he’ll be getting physio all week. As someone who has torn knee ligaments playing sports I can say that it sucks and I hope that they both take all the time they need and don’t rush the process. Bruises are one thing, joint/ligament damage are another.
The loss of Silverhorn for these games is huge. Vermont are always a tough team, particularly at home, and Manchester have started slow but have a roster loaded with talent. If Halifax drop both games on the road they’re at .500 and in a three game losing streak and likely bumped down to fourth in the standings. So for win/loss reasons they need to at least split the games, and for momentum reasons they at least need a split and cannot get blown out if they lose. That’s a tall order without one of your most important offensive weapons.
Luckily the Rainmen took out an insurance policy on Silverhorn in the form of Glen Dandridge. Unfortunately, Dandridge has been a bit inconsistent as of late – he is the Rainmen’s seventh best three point shooter in the regular season. Freckle Power will need to come up big as will all four of the guards on the team, particularly when it comes to outside shooting. Halifax rely very heavily on their outside shooters – they’ve outshot their opponents from the outside in three of their four games so far, the one game where they shot a lower three point percentage was their one loss.
Silverhorn was out of the line up Sunday and Halifax started Hammack, Brown, Dandridge, Jeanty, and Crookshank – an even smaller line up than normal. This is the line up that lost the first quarter 27-18 and looked lost on both ends of the floor. I think Lewis needs to get Sanders into the starting line up. The guy is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder and provides an intensity and toughness that they absolutely need if they’re going to start strong. They could keep Dandridge at shooting guard and play with Crookshank, Sanders and Jeanty in the front line but that leaves them with a lack of outside shooting: Sanders and Jeanty have a combined zero made three point attempts so far this season (to be fair to them Jeanty has attempted one in each of the four games, Sanders hasn’t tried one at all so far). Alternatively they could take Jeanty out of the line up and start Sanders in his place which is probably the best choice. Lewis could do something unpredictable and yank Crookshank to find room for Sanders which would create serious energy and scoring off the bench but also cause terrible internal problems and would still leave Halifax starting small.
There is another thing that that needs to be looked at – not starting Dandridge, or at the very least cutting his minutes. He was brought in to be a shooter and scorer, but is the only Rainman shooting under 47% from the field and statistically is the worst three point shooter on the team who is not a powerforward or centre. He’s simply being asked to do way too much from serving as the primary play maker at times (he leads the team in turnovers as a result), playing the most minutes per game behind Silverhorn, and guardings smaller and faster players. Twyman and Ramey have both been great off the bench and finding a way to make sure that Twyman, Ramey, Hammack and SirVal all get the minutes they deserve neccesitates cutting into Dandridge’s 37.3 mpg. It also means that Rodney Mayes is likely to see some more burn at small forward on this trip.