Bennett Still Unsure on Atkins' Return

Virginia coach Tony Bennett says the shin injury that kept sophomore Darion Atkins out of Saturday's win over Florida State may linger the rest of the season.

"Probably to completely get rid of it, it's something maybe after the season that maybe you shut down for a while, and then it fully heals," Bennett said Monday morning. "But you probably treat it by symptoms now, and manage it."

Atkins had an MRI last Monday after being bothered by shin splints in the Cavaliers' previous three games. He was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right shin, and shut down for the week.

Atkins, a forward, had started the Cavaliers' previous 11 games, but didn't look like the same player since Virginia began conference play because of the injury. In 16 games this year -- including 12 starts -- Atkins is averaging 6.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, and his 25 blocks this season lead the team.

With Atkins on the bench, Virginia beat Florida State 57-37 on Saturday, pulling even at 2-2 in the ACC this year. On Thursday, the Cavaliers travel to Virginia Tech, where they will be looking for their first conference road win of the season.

Bennett says Atkins' status for that game, and the rest of the season, will depend largely on how much pain he can endure.

"It's not, at least right now, about getting him another X-ray or an MRI. It's really based on his symptoms," Bennett explained. "We've quieted down with his stress reaction. If he needs more time, certainly he gets it. But it's based on how he feels."


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