It's probably better now than later for Andrew Smith, and for Butler as a whole for that matter. Butler's center will be on the bench wearing street clothes during this week's Atlantic 10 conference games against Charlotte on Wednesday and at Fordham on Saturday.
As rough as Saturday's tough road win (59-56) was over George Washington, it was worse for Smith. The 6'11 senior center left the A-10 game at GW on Saturday when he took a shot to the abdomen when going for a loose ball. Smith is second in points (11.4 ppg) and rebounds (5.4 rpg) for the #10 Butler Bulldogs.
Starters Roosevelt Jones and Khyle Marshall will be counted on for scoring and rebounding, along with guys like Kameron Woods and Erik Fromm off Butler's bench.
Smith's presence will definitely be missed on the court, but Butler survived two and a half games without Rotnei Clarke when he was injured, including a thrilling victory over then-number 8 Gonzaga. His leadership will be utilized on the Bulldog bench, as he's also started 91 of the last 93 games for Butler and his experience goes back to playing the in the 2011 Final Four games vs. VCU and UConn. Smith has also played in back-to-back National Championship games in 2010 and 2011 versus Duke and Connecticut, respectively.
Head Coach Brad Stevens hopes to have Smith back in the lineup next Tuesday, February 19 at home against Duquesne.
The Bulldogs (20-4, 7-2) host Charlotte (17-6, 5-4) tonight at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis for a 7 p.m. tip.