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October 14, 2011Nebraska didn't even begin its first practice of the 2011-12 season on Friday before being dealt some bad injury news.
Senior center Andre Almeida was limited during Friday's practice as he continues to struggle with his recovery from off-season knee surgery he had back in April. What was supposed to be a 6-8 week recovery timetable has now lasted nearly six months.
Almeida injured his knee during the Huskers' loss to Oklahoma State in the second round of last year's Big 12 Tournament, and he underwent surgery the week after NU's spring break.
Head coach Doc Sadler didn't hide his concern about Almeida's status, as the injury has set back the 6-foot-11, 310-pound big man's conditioning to the point where Sadler could only describe at as "bad" at this point.
Almeida, who averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds last season, had lost a considerable amount of weight through off-season training, but Sadler said that wouldn't prepare him at all for the rigors of basketball on a daily basis.
"He had done such a great job of losing a lot of weight," Sadler said. "Even though he wasn't physically run on it, he was able to do other things. As far as his weight loss is concerned, he's done OK with that. It got to the point where it kind of stabilized, but there's nothing like running up and down the floor. His basketball conditioning would be, at best, bad."
Sadler said as of now Almeida would be listed as day-to-day, and it would likely come down to how much pain he could tolerate as to when he gets back on the court. What makes the injury even more frustrating is that further surgery would not help him heal any faster.
"It's pretty serious," Sadler said. "There's nothing structurally wrong with it, it's just the pain. You can't judge pain. It's something we thought would be 6-8 weeks probably that's now into October."
McCray underwent surgeries on both of his feet this summer, and Diaz traveled to see a foot specialist at Duke University to help treat his misaligned Achilles' tendons on both feet.
Like Almeida, it will come down to how much pain Diaz and McCray could handle as the season rolls along. However, Sadler said both players had done very well in their off-season conditioning.