CHARLESTON -- As Terrell Lewis’ absence from Eastern Illinois’ active lineup extends into its third month, it’s still unknown when, or if, he will return to the court this season.
“I’m just hopeful that at some point he will feel good enough to get out there, do something and help the team,” EIU coach Jay Spoonhour said.
The senior guard has not played since a Nov. 17 overtime win against Western Illinois due to an ankle issue. He scored two points and had four assists in 19 minutes. He has appeared in just 10 games since the start of the 2017-18 season because of injuries. He missed all of EIU’s conference slate last year with a separate ailment.
Lewis has been a regular participant in practice recently and has been on the bench at home games, but he has not been in uniform in any of EIU’s conference games. Spoonhour said the injury has bothered him after a practice or if he gets incidentally kicked or bumped during practice.
“He just doesn’t feel 100 percent enough to go,” Spoonhour said.
The decision, though, is ultimately Lewis’ to make.
“Whenever he feels like he can go,” Spoonhour said.
“He knows his body enough to know when he can go and when he can’t.”
Lewis has watched his teammates start 4-2 in Ohio Valley play and, most recently, erase a 14-point deficit with 10 minutes left to beat then-OVC co-leader Austin Peay on Saturday. Now, EIU will face UT-Martin and Southeast Missouri on the road this weekend.
Lewis, a 5-foot-7 guard from St. Louis, led EIU in minutes played in each of his first three seasons with the team. As a freshman, he glided into a starting role by opening night and shot 51.9 percent on 3-pointers. He was named the 2014-15 OVC Freshman of the Year (when he was known as Cornell Johnston). In 2015-16, he played nation-best 96 percent of EIU’s minutes during conference play. He’s a career 40.7 percent 3-point shooter and has a career average of 5.0 assists per game.
“He’s always been a warrior,” Spoonhour said. “That’s the hard thing.”
“When your body just won’t let you go, that’s no good. It makes you feel bad for him.”