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Pitt expected to be down multiple players at Syracuse

Jeff Capel said on Monday that two or three players may miss the game in addition to star Justin Champagnie

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel spoke with media members on Monday and revealed that the program will be missing more players than expected in its recently rescheduled matchup with Syracuse on Wednesday. According to the coach, the team could be down as many as three players, but the players were not named.

“We will not have a full roster for our game against Syracuse on Wednesday,” Capel said. “We will be down, obviously with Justin not being able to play, but then will be down at least two more guys and possibly one more.”

Coming into the week, it was already known that Pitt would not have Justin Champagnie in its lineup, as he is expected to miss four to six more weeks with a knee injury. But there was hope for the Panthers, as it was announced in December that Au’Diese Toney would return quickly from an ankle injury, providing the young team with on-court leadership.

With that said, it is now unclear who will take the court for Pitt when it arrives at the Carrier Dome, and that is a concerning development for a team that has struggled against the Orange throughout Capel’s tenure at Pitt, going 0-5 against the New York team since his hire.

The reason for the absences was not given, but the team is coming off a period in which it postponed two games in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. Capel noted that the team may only be missing two players in addition to Champagnie, but if the worst-case scenario he discussed plays out and Pitt is down three players and Champagnie, the team will have just nine scholarship players available.