Rick Stansbury

Rick Stansbury coaches against Wisconsin at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Rick Stansbury is scheduled to have back surgery Friday morning and will not be able to coach Western Kentucky on game days for an indefinite time period.

Stansbury is definitely out for Thursday's game against Middle Tennessee State and Saturday's game against Alabama-Birmingham.

"After consulting with my doctors, I will not be present in Diddle Arena on Thursday or Saturday as I have back surgery Friday morning," Stansbury said in a statement. "I anticipate a quick recovery and returning to the sidelines soon.

"I know tickets are limited for Thursday and sold out for Saturday, but I ask for all of Hilltopper Nation and our great student section to please arrive early, bring great energy that our players can feed off of, and support this coaching staff. You can make the difference. Go Tops!”

Stansbury sat out both of last weeks victories against Rice and North Texas.

Mark Hsu served as interim head coach and will continue in that roll at least through the weekend.

"We've just been focused in. We've just been locked in," sophomore guard Josh Anderson said. "I wouldn't say we're not worried about coach, but at the same time, he's out right now, so it's pretty much next man up."

The Hilltoppers are currently 8-4 and in a tie for third place in the Conference USA standings.

"We're just trying to take it day-by-day," Anderson said. "If (Stansbury) is here the next day, or if he's not, we're going to come in and focus in. Whatever coach is coaching us we're going to listen to him and follow the game plan."

Stansbury has been able to help some at practice, but the pain he's dealing with in his back is too much for game day.

"With him being out the last few games, the coaches stepped up big time," redshirt junior guard Jared Savage said. "They helped us out. They filled in his shoes. We're the ones playing the game, so it doesn't matter if he's there or not. We're just going to play hard."

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