After missing six games due to an unknown leg injury, Virginia Tech big man P.J. Horne made his return to action tonight as No. 22 Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech 76-68.
Horne had 2 points, 1 rebound, and 2 turnovers in only 9 minutes of action as the Hokies appear to slowly be working him back into their rotation. His return gives the Hokies some much-needed depth and allows them to shift back to having a true seven-man rotation with the ability to stretch it to eight for a few minutes for Jon Kabongo.
Horne's return also gives the Hokies some much-needed frontcourt depth behind Kerry Blackshear. Virginia Tech also showed improvement on the glass without Horne with Ty Outlaw having 6+ rebounds during four of the six games that Horne missed with Horne's return helping VT's rebounding even more.
Going forward, Horne's role seems likely to grow to at least 15 minutes per game, allowing the Hokies to give Kerry Blackshear some more periods of rest earlier in the game that should benefit VT during the final 10 minutes against tougher competition. Additionally, Horne's return gives the Hokies some more versatility with the lineups Buzz Williams can use including their "big" lineup that would feature Horne and Blackshear.
While Horne returned tonight, Justin Robinson remains out indefinitely wearing the same boot that he has been wearing on the bench during every VT game since his injury. Horne's return is definitely beneficial, but there is no doubt that getting Robinson healthy for the ACC and NCAA Tournament is the top priority given how much better the Hokies are with their star point guard as shown by how they were held under 65 points in their first 3 games without him.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on Virginia Tech. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Subscribe to our email updates.