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June 12, 2006Coming off an injury-ravaged season, Purdue's men's basketball team is starting to look like a real team again.
Back - at least most of the way, if not completely - from injury or surgery are seniors David Teague and Carl Landry, sophomores Nate Minnoy and Gordon Watt, giving the Boilermakers a full roster for the first time in seemingly ages.
Each of the aforementioned players are playing pick-up ball in Mackey Arena, lifting weights and going through conditioning. None seem to be adversely affected.
Teague tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee shortly prior to his senior season, forcing him to take a medical redshirt. Now, though he might not technically be dubbed as "100 percent" by doctors, he believes he's pretty close to where he needs to be.
"I'm not held back one bit," Teague said, after going through full-bore conditioning last week and before playing open gym.
The 6-foot-5 guard didn't take too well to being idle last season, prompting him to work hard in his rehabilitation. By all accounts, he was ahead of schedule throughout the process.
"It's a tribute to myself, just how hard I worked and how hard I pushed myself," Teague said. "This is the best I've felt since I got hurt."
Landry underwent knee surgery following his junior season after sustaining the same injury that would strike Teague a few months later.
But after spending the summer recovering, the Boilermakers' leading scorer decided after five games last season to shut down for the season and take a medical redshirt.
On Thursday, after looking largely like his old self in pick-up play, Landry talked about his knee.
"There's a little soreness after open gym, but that's normal," said Landry, who hasn't been held back this summer to date. "I'll rest it a little, maybe ice it down, and I'll be fine for the next day."
Minnoy tore the MCL in his knee at Northwestern in the Boilermakers' Big Ten opener. He returned to play sparingly in the Big Ten Tournament, but was not exactly 100-percent.
Now, he believes he is.
"I've been going full speed since about the beginning of May. It's hard work, but you have to fight through it."
Additionally, Watt is going full-bore in workouts after undergoing surgery on both knees last fall, forcing him to sit out the majority of the season; he wouldn't have been eligible to play anyway after transferring in.
"We've got everyone here we need right now," Minnoy said. "Getting our conditioning down as fast as we can is the biggest key for us right now."
Furthermore, Purdue has had each of its four new freshmen on campus.
Guard Keaton Grant and center Johnathan Uchendu are in West Lafayette, and center Dan Vandervieren was scheduled to arrive this week.
Last week, guard Chris Kramer was in town, but will not arrive to stay until the end of the month as he now embarks on an all-star game circuit.
That's encouraging news for a team that's rarely in recent years had a full cupboard of healthy players in the summer.
Last summer, incoming guards Tarrance Crump and Korey Spates didn't arrive until the fall. And forwards Landry and Matt Carroll were injured and couldn't work out in the summer.
The year prior, three of Purdue's four incoming recruits didn't get to campus until just before the first day of fall classes.
"Right now," Teague said, "ljI think we're in the best position we could be in in terms of having everyone here and being able to get on the same page."
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