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Aurora Christian boys basketball's Harrell on the mend

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Johnathan Harrell’s stay in a hospital Tuesday night was brief, and the Aurora Christian boys basketball standout likely will return to the floor for Friday’s regional championship game.

That’s a welcome development for Harrell and the Eagles after coach Pat McNamara acknowledged “a pall” hung over the team after Harrell’s medical episode late in Tuesday’s game.

Harrell took an inadvertent kick to the stomach late in the IHSA Class 2A Aurora Christian Regional semifinal against St. Edward, and was eventually taken my ambulance to Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora.

There was initial concern the senior guard might have suffered a spleen injury but tests showed Harrell was OK, and he was sent home with pain medication.

“He was still in pain,” said McNamara, who made a late-night hospital visit Tuesday before Harrell was released. “He’s normally very outgoing, very gregarious. He was a little more subdued but trying to smile. You could tell he was in pain.”

McNamara corresponded with Harrell on Wednesday, and signs point to Harrell having a good chance to play in Friday’s regional championship game against top-seeded IC Catholic Prep.

“He said he’s really sore,” McNamara said. “He won’t practice [Wednesday] but he should be good to go on Friday.”

McNamara said Harrell has “bad karma against St. Ed,” noting Harrell was assigned to the same hospital room Tuesday that he was in last year after suffering a concussion against the Green Wave.

With worries about Harrell lessening, the Eagles can turn their attention to gearing up for Friday’s regional final. The Eagles beat the Knights on a buzzer-beater by the graduated Ryan Suttle to win a regional title last year, and also beat IC Catholic, 66-58, late this regular season.

McNamara isn’t putting much stock in the late-season result.

“Their coach, he’s a good coach.” McNamara said. “He didn’t show anything, let’s put it that way. They didn’t run their stuff.”

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