EVANSTON — Jordan Ash didn't play in Northwestern's December 27 win over Loyola (MD) because he had a staph infection, according to head coach Chris Collins.
Collins told reporters Tuesday that Ash's playing time was diminished over the last few days due to the injury, not performance.
"I thought Jordan was starting to turn the corner and he had a staph infection that knocked him out of a game and he was out of practice for a week," Collins said. "That's why he didn't play against Loyola. Then we got into the Big Ten and he hadn't been practicing that much so that's knocked him back a little bit."
Ash didn't see the floor much in the beginning of the season but began to play more toward the tail end of non-conference play (between November 28 and December 21) when he averaged nearly 10 minutes per game. In the last game he played before the injury, a 103-67 victory over Sacred Heart, Ash scored a career-high 10 points.
Collins didn't say if Ash's DNP against Nebraska was also due to the same injury, but it's safe to assume Ash wasn't 100 percent, since he missed practice before and after that game.
Ash's injury has forced already-overburdened guards Bryant McIntosh (34.7 minutes per game) and Tre Demps (36.4 minutes per game) to play even more the last few games. Collins said that Ash is now healthy and that he hopes to have Ash back in the rotation any day now.
"We want [Ash in the rotation] and I thought his injury knocked him back a little bit," Collins said. "Now he's back and he's healthy. We need to find ways to get him a few minutes a half where he can get those guys some rest."