All season Jaylen Bond has been Temple's defensive leader. Recently, however, the 6-foot-8 junior has had trouble staying on the court because of injury and foul trouble.
Bond, who is averaging 7.7 points and an American Athletic Conference-leading 7.9 rebounds a game, suffered a sprained right ankle in the first half and didn't return during the Owls' 80-75 win over Memphis in an AAC quarterfinal on March 13. He played the next day in the Owls' 75-63 loss to Southern Methodist, but he was far from 100 percent.
Then Bond tweaked his left ankle Wednesday in a 73-67 victory over Bucknell in the opening round of the NIT.
Bond hopes rest will have helped when the Owls (24-10) host George Washington (22-12) at 11 a.m. Sunday in a second- round NIT game at the Liacouras Center.
"It is tough not being 100 percent, but I have to be there for my team, and when I am on the court it helps us a lot, so I have to suck it up and play through it," said Bond, who is averaging 3.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in his last three games.
Bond's true value is on the defensive end.
"He is a key to what we do and has had foul trouble and injury trouble lately," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. "We need him to play."
George Washington won, 60-54, at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, while Temple struggled before finally putting away Bucknell. This game figures to be just as tight.
"What I liked is that we didn't fold," said point guard Will Cummings, who scored a season-high 30 points. "We stuck with it and grinded the win out, and we know we are in a tough one with GW."