Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/22/14
St. John’s will be one player short Saturday afternoon against Villanova, but the basketball team’s family has grown by one. Senior forward Orlando Sanchez left the team Friday morning to join his wife, Flor Estefani Sanchez, in welcoming the arrival of their newborn daughter, Ysabel Angela, on Friday, the team announced. The six-pound, seven-ounce baby girl, born Friday morning at 9:55 a.m., and her mother are resting in good health at a Providence, R.I., hospital. A key reserve, part-time starter and favorite among teammates and the St. John’s staff, the 6-foot-9 Sanchez, 24, is averaging 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and grabbed a career-high 11 boards in the Johnnies’ 77-52 win over Butler on Tuesday. The Dominican Republic native received a waiver to play this season after the NCAA initially deemed he had used up his four years of eligibility. “My family and I would like to thank God for giving us this treasure,” Sanchez said in a statement. “I will be back with my brothers soon to help our team accomplish our goals of finishing the year strong and making the postseason.” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said, “Our St. John’s family congratulated Orlando and Flor.” Sanchez is expected to return for Tuesday’s game against Xavier at the Garden. His absence leaves St. John’s shorthanded up front for its game against No. 9 Villanova, but there is a chance sophomore center Chris Obekpa (right ankle) could return after missing the Butler contest, though one isn’t tied to the other. Lavin said on Friday he “wouldn’t rule out” the possibility of Obekpa suiting up on Saturday after the sophomore center went through a light workout. Lavin said team doctors are “pleased” with Obekpa’s progress and his ankle, initially expected to keep him out 10-14 days, has improved. Obekpa suffered the injury during practice on Monday at the Garden. An MRI exam revealed he suffered a sprain and bone bruise in the ankle.
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