Elvis on return to Dayton rotation: ‘It’s a blessing to be out there’

Flyers return to action Saturday at home against Richmond

Like teammate Malachi Smith, Kobe Elvis never thought about taking a medical redshirt this season after his injury Nov. 25.

“As soon as I knew that I could come back,” Elvis said, “and just be a part of the group in any way, shape or form, I was going to work to do that.”

Elvis, a 6-foot-2 redshirt sophomore guard, hurt his right knee in the second half during a 79-75 overtime loss to Brigham Young in the Battle 4 Atlantis. He gave his first interview since that injury Wednesday after a 75-70 loss at Rhode Island.

Elvis did not want to comment on the specifics of the injury but is glad to be back on the court for the last two games after missing 12 games. He thanked trainer Mike Mulcahey and strength coach Casey Cathrall for helping me through the rehabilitation process.

“It’s a blessing to be out there for however long I get to be out there,” Elvis said. “When I went down, I didn’t think I’d be playing for the rest of the year. That could have been career ending or something. I’m blessed for every minute I can still be a part of the process, still be in practice and just be around and be involved.”

Dayton (13-8, 5-3) plays Richmond (11-10, 4-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday at UD Arena. With 10 games to play, the Flyers sit alone in fourth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference behind Virginia Commonwealth (16-5, 7-1), Saint Louis (14-6, 6-1) and George Washington (11-9, 5-2).

Dayton will seek to avoid its second three-game losing streak of the season and first since the three losses in the Bahamas to Wisconsin, North Carolina State and Brigham Young. It has not had separate losing streaks of three games or more in one season since the 1998-99 season when it had three.

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Elvis scored eight points in 13 minutes in his return Jan. 21 as Dayton lost 76-69 at George Washington. He had 14 points, all in the second half, in 22 minutes at Rhode Island. He made two 3-pointers in a 30-second span to cut a 12-point deficit in half with 4:34 to play.

Elvis has made 6 of 8 3-pointers in the two games. Prior to his injury, Elvis made 9 of 35 (25.7%).

Dayton played well, for the most part, without Smith and Elvis, going 9-2 and losing only to Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth. It won seven games in a row by double digits without them while holding each of those opponents to fewer than 60 points.

Dayton then won its first game with Smith back in the rotation, beating Davidson 68-61, but has lost twice since Elvis returned to action. It also played the last game against Rhode Island without starting guard R.J. Blakney, who had a lower-body injury. Dayton has still played only one game with a fully healthy lineup.

“The season, it’s peaks and valleys,” Elvis said. “The biggest thing is just the amount of changes. Every game shows you that you can’t take a lot of things for granted. Every game is different. Every game has been different in terms of just who’s been available. So it’s just a matter of believing in one another again and figuring out a way to just be as connected as possible.”

Elvis talked outside the locker room Wednesday while holding a knee brace that he has worn since returning to action. He was asked if he was getting used to it.

“I really don’t want to get used to it,” he said. “It’s a little bulky, weighs a little bit. My stride is a little different with it on. My movements are a little tighter and different with it. But it’s keeping me out there on the court, so I can’t complain.”


Richmond at Dayton, 4 p.m., CBS Sports Network, 1290, 95.7

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