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Syracuse’s Bourama Sidibe ‘good to go’ after PRP injection to knee, comfortable warm-up at Wake Forest

first_imgWINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Bourama Sidibe glided toward the rim, tracking the ball as it arced off the iron and in his direction. He snared it in mid-air and dunked. He finally felt back to normal, finally felt free from whatever had been holding him back jumping the past few days.Sidibe landed and smiled. He turned back to his teammates, spread out around the court, shooting in their own warm-up jerseys. The arena was about one-tenth full, and seemingly no one had noticed his slam. But as Sidibe dribbled to the arc to take some more jumpers, he kept grinning.The most significant minutes on the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum court for the freshman center during Syracuse’s (12-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) 73-67 loss on Wednesday night to Wake Forest (8-6, 1-1) weren’t the three he spent on the court during the game, his first appearance in nearly two weeks in which he grabbed one rebound. Sidibe said it was the pregame shootaround.“I was jumping everything in the warm-up line, doing what I usually do,” Sidibe said. “I feel I’m good to go. I feel I’m good to go. … I can’t tell (if I’m 100 percent), but I’m good to go. I really feel I’m good to go. Whatever it is, I’m good to go.”The tendinitis in Sidibe’s left knee seemingly first troubled him sometime around Dec. 5 against Connecticut, when he dropped from his average of splitting about 20 minutes per game at center with Paschal Chukwu and played 10 minutes against the Huskies. But on Wednesday night, Sidibe said the knee has bothered him even before the season, and that it received treatment “every day” this fall.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Dec. 27, after Syracuse beat Eastern Michigan to close out its non-conference schedule, Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim first dangled the possibility that the Orange might shut down Sidibe for the season and apply for a medical redshirt. Boeheim and Sidibe gave some consideration to the redshirt, though Sidibe said there was never a formal conversation and he was “50-50” on whether to sit out.Since UConn, Sidibe had played twice, for 11 minutes against Georgetown on Dec. 16 and for five more against St. Bonaventure, when Paschal Chukwu fouled out late and Sidibe hobbled on defense before Boeheim decided he’d seen enough.Ultimately, Boeheim and Sidibe decided against applying for the redshirt, and Sidibe’s appearance Wednesday effectively ended any possibility he could receive one now.“He didn’t really want to (sit out),” Boeheim said. “He wants to play. I don’t have somebody redshirt unless they really want to. … He’s healthy enough. We’ve just got to spot him in there and give some time.”Instead, the morning after the St. Bonaventure loss, Sidibe received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the knee before he left for Christmas break. The pain went away quickly, Sidibe said, but the knee swelled up. One of the drawbacks to the PRP injection, Sidibe said, was that he couldn’t play basketball for a week after having it.Meanwhile, Chukwu shouldered the load the pair used to share. Sometimes the Orange went small, using freshman Marek Dolezaj at center, but in the six games since Sidibe’s injury started causing him to miss time, Chukwu played 32 minutes or more four times. Chukwu took advantage of the extra time — posting career highs against Eastern Michigan in points (15), rebounds (11) and made free throws (nine) — but before this stretch, Chukwu had never played more than 32 minutes in a single game in his career. Against WFU on Wednesday, Chukwu played another 37 minutes.Asked if the extra workload weighed on him, Chukwu shrugged and said, “Sometimes fatigue does kick in, but you’ve got to push through it. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.”Now, a little more than a week after Sidibe’s shot, he said the swelling isn’t as bad. He started wearing a small band on his left knee “to protect things a little bit.” At practice earlier this week, Sidibe returned to doing the same drills as his teammates, and teammates noted the difference in how Sidibe moved from before the shot, how much easier it seemed.“Just seeing him running and jumping and dunking again (was great),” said freshman guard Howard Washington. “Not that he was unable to before, but just as a person, he was like, ‘I’m not going to.’”On Wednesday night, six minutes into the game, Boeheim sent Sidibe to the scorer’s table to check-in. Syracuse trailed by seven. Chukwu had no fouls. This was the moment when everyone, including himself, learned for sure what he was capable of if called upon after that time away.“There was nothing different (about tonight),” Sidibe said, “but it was coach’s choice (to put me in). Sometimes when you get hurt, you sit on the bench for a couple weeks and it’s hard to get back right away and play a lot of minutes. He wants to play me, but he doesn’t want to take away (from the team), so I get it.”Sidibe moved cautiously on defense, altering a few shots with his 6-foot-10 frame but not recording any blocks. He ended one Wake Forest possession — something Syracuse struggled to do Wednesday — by grabbing a missed 3-pointer, but then he exited shortly after. His night was over. Asked if Sidibe could eventually work his way back to splitting time with Chukwu, Syracuse assistant coach Allen Griffin said, “Hopefully. That would benefit us big time.”As Syracuse desperately grasped for a lead that always seemed to slip away the second it held it, Sidibe watched from his increasingly familiar spot on the bench. He knows he has to stay ready, because Boeheim, Chukwu, Griffin and the rest of the team will need him. He decided not to redshirt, and he knows it’s likely no longer an option. If he needs another shot in his knee like the one he got before Christmas, he said he can get one, but it costs him more time away.On Wednesday night, and he hopes for not much longer, Sidibe couldn’t do anything to help his team when they needed him.“I’m sitting there (watching),” he said. “But whenever (Boeheim) calls my name, I have to be ready to go.” Comments Published on January 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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Daniels: UW may be better off without Taylor

first_imgAfter the public unveiling of the Wisconsin men’s 2012-13 basketball team Sunday during the annual Red/White Scrimmage, Badger basketball fans may have less to worry about this season than they originally thought.Call me crazy, but maybe expectations should even be raised.With the losses of Jordan Taylor, who graduated last spring, junior guard Josh Gasser to a season-ending torn ACL and senior forward Mike Bruesewitz for four-to-six weeks with a leg laceration, it would have been understandable to expect this season to be a down year. The preseason AP ranking of No. 23 might just have been a bit too lofty an expectation for a ragged Badger team.But if you thought that, as many people have in the past, then you obviously must be unfamiliar with head coach Bo Ryan.In his 11 years at the helm of Wisconsin, Ryan has never failed to make the NCAA tournament – giving the Badgers the seventh-longest appearance streak in NCAA history – sometimes with the most mediocre of teams garnering the most impressive results.Ryan has become famous for his plug-and-chug basketball program and has continued to replace last year’s stars with new ones year in and year out.If Sunday’s scrimmage is any indication, Ryan seems to have proven that he can do it once more, despite this year’s needs being greater than in years past.Generally not an important part of the UW preseason, all eyes were glued to the key matchup between redshirt freshman George Marshall and sophomore Traevon Jackson as they battled for the vacant point guard position.The two young guards didn’t disappoint either, as Jackson finished with 16 points and Marshall finished with 14. In Taylor-esque fashion, Jackson did not turn the ball over, and Marshall only turned it over twice.Now, before I continue, I am by no means arguing their statistics in the Red/White Scrimmage indicate they will put out those kinds of numbers all season. But it does indicate both players are familiar with and capable of executing in Ryan’s system when called upon to do so. While Taylor may have been one of the best players to ever grace the Kohl Center hardwood, it could be argued that the Jordan Taylor of 2011-12 was too talented to play on Ryan’s team last year.Just look at the season-ending play against Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.With the final few seconds on the clock winding down and the Badgers down by one to the Orange, Taylor passed the ball to then senior forward Rob Wilson, who immediately passed it straight back to Taylor. With time about to expire, Taylor heaved up a Hail Mary effort that didn’t even manage to touch the rim, leaving Gasser, who recovered the miss, too little time to toss up for one more good attempt.Unfortunately, this was the theme last season, not the exception, as teams knew exactly whom to watch for when the Badgers were in trouble in the waning seconds of a close game.Perhaps even more importantly, even though Taylor had proven himself to be a clutch shooter in his first three seasons and periodically throughout his senior campaign with Wisconsin, he was not the most efficient shooter on the team in 2011-12 by any means.On the season, Taylor had the second-worst field goal percentage among the starting five, shooting just more than a .400 clip. When you isolate his three-point shooting, Taylor’s percentage (.369) ranked third-worst in the starting lineup.Some of the Badgers’ most impressive, balanced scoring runs occurred in the rare moments when Taylor was taking a breather on the bench.And yet, time and again Taylor was the go-to player for a last-second three-point heave.Without Taylor around to toss up the last-second shot this year, things are already guaranteed to be different.I am not arguing that Taylor’s presence on the team won’t be missed. It will. He had the best assist-to-turnover ratio in NCAA history (3.01), an essential attribute for any point guard in Ryan’s system.But as far as scoring is concerned, without one clear star player on the team, the role players who might have settled for a pass to Taylor at the top of the key last year will now be forced to create their own plays this year.At first that might be a bit worrisome, but the vast majority of players that make it onto Ryan’s squad are fundamentally sound and perfectly capable of making that big shot themselves.With a fully stocked senior frontcourt in Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Bruesewitz, there will not be immediate pressure on the young point guards to become Wisconsin’s main scoring threats from the first tip, either.So when the first close game of the year comes around and the Badgers are forced to heave up one last buzzer-beating shot at the end of a game, fans might not know who will take the all-important shot. But then again, neither will the Badgers’ opponents.Nick Daniels is a junior studying journalism and political science. Who do you think should take a game-winning shot for the Badgers? Let him know via email [email protected] or on Twitter @npdaniels31.last_img read more

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