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Leonard Hamilton on Phil Cofer’s status

Florida State redshirt senior forward Phil Cofer suffered a right foot injury during preseason practice back in late October. He has not appeared in FSU’s first eight games, instead being present on the bench where he has gone from wearing a boot on his foot to back into basketball sneakers. The good news is that Cofer is progressing, having returned to practice recently.

He is expected to travel with FSU and dress for their game against UConn in the Never Forget Tribute Classic from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J, which will be played on Saturday evening. But whether or not he takes to the court remains to-be-determined.

“I think that Phil has, it appears that he has progressed from a healing standpoint,” FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton said on Thusday. “But now he hasn’t had a full day of practice. He has not had any contact at all. He has had some light shooting and some light shooting with his team. So I am not going to, unless a miracle happens that I don’t foresee, I am just not comfortable that the right thing to do is take him on the road, a hostile environment in a big game and expect him to be able to mentally go out in the game and feel confident.”

Hamilton went on to compare dealing with this situation in a different manner than he did last season with center Christ Koumadje, who missed 11 consecutive games (Nov. 22 vs. Kennesaw State through Jan. 3 vs. North Carolina) because of a foot injury. Koumadje had struggles after his return which lingered through FSU’s Elite Eight run.

“I think last year if you remember what happened with Christ [Koumadje], he was out with that stress fracture for seven weeks. He practiced two days and we went down to Miami, and then he came back and two days we have got Syracuse and he gets 25 points. He goes to Boston … we start the game and he can’t get down the court. We have three games in like seven days, and a guy who sat out for seven weeks with two days of practice, and now the tendonitis sets in and we are dealing with that for the rest of the year.

“So I am not going to put Phil in that situation,” Hamilton added.

With that in mind, Hamilton shed some more light on how they will evaluate Cofer in the coming days and weeks.

“Maybe the most logical thing to do is to see where he is as he goes through light practices and then lets see can we ease him into, hopefully next week, we hope he is at a point where he is running right, he is landing correctly, he is not overcompensating because I’m landing on this foot because I’m trying to psychologically not land on the foot that I’ve injured,” Hamilton said. “So I’m just going to take this a lot slower than I did with Christ last year. “

The potential exists for Cofer to make his 2018-19 debut on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. when the Seminoles face UConn. Ultimately though, that decision will be in the hands of Hamilton and Cofer, as well as the team’s trainers.

Cofer led the Seminoles with 12.8 points during the 2017-18 season.

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