MORGANTOWN — Daxter Miles Jr. leaned back in his seat inside the WVU Coliseum on Feb. 2, looking like a young man aching for rest.
James “Beetle” Bolden rested his head against a cold hard railing. The look on his face was pure exhaustion.
On his way to practice, Lamont West walked by WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins with little pep in his step.
“You feeling better today?” Huggins asked, with West simply nodding his head positively.
“You lying?” Huggins asked again.
“No, I’m better,” West said, but his weary eyes told a different story.
The flu bug has taken a serious bite out of the 15th-ranked WVU men’s basketball team.
“We’ve got five guys sick right now,” Huggins said. “We’ve had guys in and out of the hospital. It hasn’t been good.”
Huggins said within the last week that West, Miles, Bolden, Chase Harler and Wes Harris have dealt with the flu.
Miles missed Wednesday’s 93-77 loss against Iowa State and has visited the hospital in order to stay hydrated.
“We’re just trying to survive right now,” Huggins said. “Dax hasn’t practiced or played for five or six days. He still sounds and looks terrible.”
Bolden was just in the hospital getting hydrated Friday morning before practice and Harris played against Iowa State, but was listed as probable before the game.
“He wasn’t feeling great,” Huggins said.
All five were present for practice Friday, but only Harler and Harris appeared to look better.
Huggins said he would have no idea who would be able to play until it gets closer to today’s 4 p.m. tip with the Wildcats (16-6, 5-4 Big 12).
“We probably won’t have 10 guys today,” Huggins said. “Chase was the first one with it. As soon as he got it, we started taking Theraflu. I took it. It hasn’t helped them much. It’s just a different strand of flu.”
It certainly will mean a different kind of WVU team (16-6, 5-4), which is trying to end a three-game losing streak.
Depending on who is capable of playing, Huggins may have to alter not only the Mountaineers’ starting lineup, but also WVU’s style of play.
Any attempt to full-court press the Wildcats may be out of the picture, because WVU will likely lack any kind of depth.
“I’m just worried about having enough guys who can play,” Huggins said. “I don’t know what we can do. We’re going to dummy through a bunch of stuff, but I don’t think we’ve ever had this many guys sick at one time.
“I don’t think there is any doubt the Iowa State game we had no legs. So, we’ll try to save as much energy as we can.”
What started with Harler, Huggins said, has worsened as it hit the next player.
Huggins’ biggest fear: Who does the flu hit next?
“What are we going todo,” Huggins said. “if it continues the way it has gone, somebody else will be sick [Saturday]. I’ve never really seen anything like this. It seems like every day, it’s a new guy.”
Preparing for the resurgent Wildcats won’t help.
Kansas State has won four of its last five games to get back into contention for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats have played five games with injured point guard Kamau Stokes (broken foot), but he has been medically cleared and could see some action today.
“It’s too soon to know,” K-State head coach Bruce Weber said on Thursday, during the Big 12 media call. “If he makes progress, we’d hope to have him for at least 10 or 15 minutes. Again, it all depends on how he reacts over the next few days of practice.”