Wendell McKines appeared at NMSU media day on crutches on Thursday. His left foot was heavily wrapped. He said that comes off next week and he starts what he estimates as a seven week process to return to the court. Here are some other things he said.
How did the injury happen?
"It was a 2-on-1 drill. I was the one back, Laroche passsed it to Chili, I planted my left foot to try to contest Chili. I heard it crack. Once I couldn't walk on it, I knew something was wrong. It was a crack in and now there is a screw in it."
Talk about the rehab
"It will be in the water. I'm going to lift upper body but we will do some things in the water to keep my stamina up. I am on a six week program to get back to playing and moving on the court and probably another week to get in shape. That is what we are looking at. I'm taking this as another challenge, not only on the basketball court but in life. I will survive."
Have you ever had surgery before?
"Never. I've never broken a bone, never sprained an ankle. It's the first time. When it first happened, of course I was pretty down about it but anyone who knows me knows I can't stay down for too long. Alright, it happened and I can't change it. What can I do about it moving forward? Once they say I'm not injured anymore, I'm willing to play through pain."
So if you can come back at 80 percent this year rather than redshirt, you will?
"This is my senior year. It wouldn't make any sense to play at 80 percent. Once they say I'm 100 percent and the timing period is ok, then I'm going to play. Once conference goes on, it wouldn't make any sense for me to play a couple months. I'm working to come back. I want to be back before this year is out. But if things go otherwise, redshirting is an option."
(By the timing he talks about, I assume what Wendell means is the possibility of a medical redshirt. Once he steps on the court, the possibility of a redshirt season is gone. He will be eligible for a medical redshirt only if the injury, which would be a re-injury in h is case, occured in the first half of the season and he had played in no more than 30 percent of the team's games)
What kind of support have you received?
"Everyone from Dr. Boston to the towel boy, everybody has been really supportive. This type of thing really showed me that I have the support of the whole staff, even the girls team. It's really humbling. Facebook people are showing a lot of love and on Twitter. I just appreciate the support and I'm working hard to get back."
What about Bandja Sy and Tyrone Watson, who seem to be battling for your spot?
"They are going to be alright. Bandja has been working hard. He got stronger. He's the top 5 most athletic wing in the country. Watson is experienced. He came up big for us in the WAC tournament. Troy and Hamidu and Laroche. We have a solid team, it's just unfortunate that I can't be with them."