Wright battling on a daily basis

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Cashmere Wright is battling a shoulder injury, knee swelling and critical decision to take a break to allow his body to heal as the Bearcats grind through Big East play.


CINCINNATI -- Cashmere Wright needs extra time to prepare for practice these days. A quick wrap of the ankles and tightening of the shoelaces doesn't apply.


First there's a wrap on his knees, where he experiences swelling from time to time and has had to have drained. Then there's the wrap for his left shoulder, which popped out three weeks ago in a game against St. Francis. The wrap stretches around his shoulder, across the chest, under the right arm and back across. Then that must be secured as well.


Every day is more like preparing for battle than a practice. The battle wounds have started to mount all too quickly.


"There's too much going on," Wright said.


None of his injuries are severe enough to keep him out of a game. In fact, as of Tuesday's media availability, Wright was fully expected to play Wednesday against South Florida. But the combination of the shoulder and the knee are gradually creating a cumulative frustration for the sophomore.


Mick Cronin assessed on Monday that at some point Wright probably needs to take a week off, rest and let his body return to order. When and if that break happens, however, is up to the sophomore.


"I just don't think anybody is capable of playing well if you don't practice well," Cronin said. "We got two choices there, practice hard, practice well, get ready to play well or sit out. So, that's his call. That's not my call, that's his call.


"He doesn't have injuries that would preclude him from playing, but if he's so sore it's going to stop him from being able to practice well, you can't expect to play well. It puts him in a bad predicament, therefore it puts our team in a bad predicament."


For a kid who missed his entire freshman season with a torn ACL, he's not about to concede any time, yet.


"That's the thing I am thinking right now, I don't want to," Wright said. "They keep telling me  before something worse ends up happening you might have to get yourself together. But, right now, I just feel like I just can't sit out."


There's no denying his offensive performance regressed since the shoulder injury against St. Francis began this painful trend.


He averaged 10.4 points through the first 11 games. He knocked down 15 of 33 3-pointers at a 45-percent clip.


Since the injury, he's 0 for 8 from deep and 4 for 22 from the field. He's averaging 6.8 points over the four-game span.


For now, every day, his mind says play. The only problem is, arriving at practice, he never knows what his body will be saying.


The Saturday before the Villanova game, it said to shut down and Wright didn't practice.


"When I get to the point where I feel like I am hurting my team, I am going to have to (sit down)," Wright said. "Right now, I feel like I don't want to let my team down by sitting out a week or whatever. But at some point it seems like that is what's going to happen. My body is day by day feeling worse and worse, I got to get back healthy. Ever since the St. Francis game it seems like it's been going downhill."


Should Wright sit down Dion Dixon will see more action slipping from shooting guard to point guard, along with extended minutes for backup JaQuon Parker.


Dixon never played point guard before, but Cronin admits Dixon thrived when asked to do so to this point. Still, Cronin hopes he doesn't have to worry much about realignment at the guard spots. For now, he's allowing Wright to battle through the pain. Sometimes, the battle needs a little prodding.


"Some guys you just have to challenge," Cronin said. "And then sometimes you have to challenge them a little harder. We challenged them a little harder (Monday)."


It worked.


"Cash had a great practice," Cronin said.


Wright knows he can have a great practice. The problem is knowing how he'll feel the for the next practice. For now, it's a battle he fights every day. And one he believes to be worth every brace, piece of tape and strand of wrap strapped to his body.


"You just got to fight," Wright said. "End of the day, I am out here doing what I love to do, so I can't really complain. But at the same time my body, day to day, it feels different. Some days feel better than another. You just got to keep pushing."

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