Weaver’s return good news for Dayton

Guard scores seven points after missing four games

Guard Elijah Weaver led the Dayton Flyers in scoring through the first 10 games of the season. They wouldn’t have won the ESPN Events Invitational in November without his timely second-half 3-pointers. He had 14 points against the Miami Hurricanes and 14 the next day against Kansas.

Then, in mid-December, Weaver’s offensive impact all but disappeared. He was still playing but contributing little. There was no explanation — until Wednesday.

Weaver returned to action in Dayton’s 75-54 victory against Duquesne after missing the previous four games with a wrist injury. In the postgame press conference, he revealed his play before the four-game absence was entirely attributable to his injury, which happened during the 62-57 victory against Virginia Tech on Dec. 12.

“I did a spin move in the lane, and I went to do a layup and somebody was under me,” Weaver said. “I went to catch myself, and I just stuck my hand straight up. When I landed, I just kind of messed up everything in my left wrist.”

Weaver scored nine points in that game. At that point in the season, he was averaging a team-best 11.0 points per game and had scored in double figures six times.

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In the next three games, Weaver scored a total of five points. He then scored 12 points against George Washington on Jan. 8. He was asked after that game about his recent scoring slump but didn’t mention the injury.

“This game will help me get back on track,” Weaver said. “I had not really lost it but was going through a little slump.”

Weaver scored five points in the next game against Saint Louis but then did not score in the next three games, attempting only three shots against Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and George Mason. There was no indication he was injured until he sat out the Fordham game on Jan. 25 with a brace on his wrist.

“I couldn’t really help the team,” Weaver said, “so I just decided to get treatment as much as I can and try to ice and get back as fast as I can versus trying to play through it.”

Weaver didn’t have a problem with people not knowing about his injury because the people that matter most — his coaches and teammates — knew what he was going through.

“It was just a matter of getting back right and helping my team,” Weaver said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The wrist isn’t 100%, Weaver said, but it’s good enough for him to play. He’ll get another chance at 2 p.m. Saturday when Dayton (16-8, 8-3) plays George Washington (9-13, 5-5) at UD Arena.

“I had a decision to make,” Weaver said, “and it was either be out or try to deal with it and help the team.”

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Weaver scored seven points on 3-of-9 shooting against Duquesne. He made an extra effort to be aggressive so he could shake off the rust.

“I’m just trying to get back in a groove as quick as possible,” Weaver said, “because these coming games are important.”

Coach Anthony Grant said Weaver was day-to-day with the injury for a while but then re-aggravated the injury the day before the Fordham game. That was one reason he missed the last four games.

“He’s had a rough go of it,” Grant said. “Obviously, he’s worked really hard to get himself back out on the court. The mental and the physical piece of it for him, it’s been a challenge. It was great to see him back out there. It looked like he was having fun. We’ve just got to get back in his rhythm and back to what he’s capable of.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

George Washington at Dayton, 2 p.m., Spectrum News 1, 1290, 95.7

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