As the coach of 1A Newark high school, head basketball coach Rick Tollefson is always playing with a short deck. After all there are just 190 students that roam the hallways on a daily basis.
But this is like taking a slice out of that short deck.
The Norsemen's all-area junior Kyle Anderson has been hobbled for four weeks with a knee injury. Tollefson believes the 6-2 guard injured it in December, then aggravated it during a holiday tournament. It is doubtful he will play Friday night against Earlville.
"We're being more cautious from a long term perspective," said Tollefson. "We hope to have him back from the stretch run."
That would mean the Little Ten conference tournament, which begins Tuesday.
Anderson is Division 1 prospect, already receiving an offer from Akron University. He is being recruited by Minnesota and Marquette, along with a number of Missouri Valley Conference schools.
For now, recruiting can wait. What the Norsemen's best player needs is rest. And that's not easy this time of year.
"(Rest) is hard to come by right now," said Tolleson. "We've had to ask other players to step up."
And while Newark has won 4 of their last 5, if they have any chance of repeating as 1A state quarterfinalists, they will need the unique talents of Anderson.