Butler coach Brad Stevens said starting big man Matt Howard remains day-to-day after taking a shot to the head during Saturday night's win against Michigan State, but everyone expects Howard to play in Monday's national title game against Duke.

"I think he'll be on the floor," Howard's father, Stan, told FOXSports.com on Sunday afternoon. "I got a voice mail from the trainer and he said he's doing better. I fully expect him to play."

Stevens said he was uncertain whether Howard suffered a concussion, but said he will hold him out of practice on Sunday.

"His heath is the numero uno priority," Stevens said. "If he can't play, he can't play."

Howard has started every game this season and averaged 11.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. The Bulldogs will need their 6-foot-7 1/2 undersized post player against a big, deep Duke frontline that includes much-improved 7-footer Brian Zoubek.

Stan Howard his son has taken plenty of shots on the court and from his older brothers over the years.

"I understand the staff as being as careful as they can," Stan Howard said. "But I think the only way he doesn't play is if they tell him he can't."