Josh Blessing

Ball State has four games remaining on its schedule, and it's feeling the wear and tear.

With just minutes remaining in Ball State's 83-62 victory over Toledo last Tuesday, Jarrod Jones went down hard on his back.

The game was already put out of reach as Jones laid on the court for several minutes while all of Worthen Arena was silent.

Jones was fine, but the preseason All-Mid-American Conference selection would not finish the game. However, he played 26 minutes in Saturday's 66-61 loss against Wofford.

"This time of year everybody's beat up. Everybody's a little bit wounded here or there, you got your bumps and bruises," coach Billy Taylor said. "It's just a matter of fighting through mentally and having the mental toughness."

Taylor said Jones didn't practice for two days before the Wofford game. He said Jones has continued to be limited this week in practice because of swelling.

To add to the Cardinal injuries, Malik Perry sprained his ankle bringing down a rebound against Wofford.

Despite not being able to practice Monday, Perry is staying positive. Playing at Ball State for four years, Perry said he knows his limits by now.

"I'm doing good, just taking my time," he said. "I just want to be healthy for the game on Wednesday and not over push it. I understand my limits. I want to make sure I'm healthy, at least close to 100 percent."

Even though Perry didn't practice Monday, he was able to finish the game against Wofford, showing signs that he'll most likely be in the starting lineup Wednesday night against Eastern Michigan.

Taylor said Jones' pain has gone down, but he still isn't 100 percent.

"We're trying to watch him in practice and not have him take too big of a burden with [Perry] not practicing," he said.

Now 26 games into the season, Ball State knows its identity. Taylor said it's now about preserving the legs of his players for a strong finish.

"You definitely do more film work this time of year individually and collectively," Taylor said. "You want to save their bodies and you want to save their legs. It's a lot more mental work this time of year."