Allen Chaney's season still uncertain

When Virginia Tech forward Allen Chaney transferred from Florida last summer, the Hokies hoped he would add some much-needed size to a team with its sights set on an (eventual, anyway) NCAA tournament berth. That has not gone according to plan.

Chaney fainted in April following a workout in Blacksburg, Va., and had to be revived via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by a trainer. Tests revealed no abnormalities; Chaney was diagnosed with nothing more than dehydration and was cleared to do some light shooting drills. That's when things got a bit more serious: Chaney had another episode soon thereafter, which, unless he chugs four Red Bulls before every shootaround (from personal experience, let me assure you this is a terrible idea) indicated the problem was something more serious than a mere lack of water.

With that in mind, Chaney underwent a diagnostic procedure on his heart last Tuesday. The doctors at the University of Virginia's hospital believe Chaney's issue is related to a viral inflammation of the heart. They can probably explain it better than I can:

The procedure "involved evaluating the electric activity of his heart," the doctor, Mark Rogers, said yesterday in a press release. "Based on the results of this, we are recommending that another heart specialist evaluate him further. At this point, the consensus is that the abnormality in the study is most likely related to a viral inflammation of the heart. We certainly anticipate Allan's return to the court when it is deemed safe for him."

That last part is the major Hokies-related news: Just how soon can Chaney return to the court? The answer is ... well, there is no answer. The virus requires six to 18 months to run its course, with the "only steps to recovery includ[ing] rest and avoidance of physical exertion." That's the major bummer for Chaney, who waited an entire year to get on the court for the Hokies only to have the prospect of playing this season ripped right out from under him.

As of now, Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg says he doesn't know when Chaney will be back, or if he'll be able to kick the virus before the 2010-11 season runs out. Chaney recently spoke to NBA veteran Juwan Howard, who missed a large portion of the 2005 season thanks to that exact condition.

It's not a given that Chaney's absence will drastically affect the Hokies' chances of making the tournament in 2010-11. After all, Malcolm Delaney and company were on the cusp of the bubble last year, and the core of that team will all return this year. It's almost beside the point, though, because this is just kind of a bummer. There's no getting around it.