Ailing point guard returns, saves the day for Colonials

For one day, George Washington basketball coach Mike Lonergan felt like another D.C. coach with the same first name, the Redskins' Mike Shanahan.

In a potential season-ending game Saturday, Lonergan used an injured player who had been declared out for the season. He identified with the conflict Shanahan felt playing hobbled quarterback Robert Griffin III in a playoff loss to the Seahawks.

Up next
George Washington vs. Massachusetts
When » Thursday, 9 p.m.
Where » Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The player in question for George Washington in its 81-80 overtime victory against Dayton was senior point guard Bryan Bynes, who worked a season-high 31 minutes despite a fracture to his right tibial plateau. Bynes was cleared by a team doctor, but that didn't clear the mind of Lonergan.

"I'm really not a doctor. But we have great doctors here, and we have a great trainer," Lonergan said. "One time [Bynes] grabbed his leg -- actually it was his other leg -- but I thought, 'Oh, God.' I was thinking he might break his leg or something. It was a leg cramp."

In his first action in 17 days, Bynes tallied 13 points, three rebounds and two assists with just one turnover. His presence steadied a turnover-prone backcourt, relieving pressure on freshman Joe McDonald (16 points, five rebounds, two steals).

In the 16-team Atlantic 10, in which only 12 teams qualify for the conference tournament, the win put GW in a three-way tie for the final two slots. Emerging via tiebreaker as the 11th seed, the Colonials play Thursday in Brooklyn against Massachusetts (19-10), with Bynes expected in the lineup.

The importance of the 6-foot-3 Bynes, called by Lonergan his best on-ball defender, was illustrated during his absence as the Colonials went 0-4.

Bynes said he started feeling better about a "week and a half" after getting injured and sought out a team doctor for a second look. When Bynes got through Friday's practice -- his first since the injury -- without pain, he was OK'd to play.

Since it was Senior Day, he opened the game in the starting lineup.

Bynes said he played pain free Saturday and will take the same approach this week -- rest the knee and test it in practice Wednesday.

"It's a game-time decision," Bynes said of his tenuous status.