Posted at 1:31 p.m., Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Nevada's Fazekas expected to return to play Thursday
Associated PressRENO, Nev. Nevada coach Mark Fox expects his star forward Nick Fazekas to return to action when the No. 15 Wolf Pack host Fresno State Thursday night but may not know the status of his sprained ankle until game time.
"I anticipate that he's going to be able to play a little bit," Fox said. "I don't think he'll be 100 percent. But I think he'll try and play."
At least eight NBA scouts have made tentative plans to attend the game at Lawlor Events Center with Fazekas expected back in the lineup after missing the last 2.5 games. The 6-foot-11 senior practiced with the team on Tuesday.
"I didn't let him do too much," Fox told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "He was OK. We made him run some."
Fazekas is averaging 20.3 points and is the nation's second-leading rebounder at 12.1 boards per game, trailing Arkansas-Little Rock's Rasheed Jones-Jennings (12.2 per game).
On Tuesday, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale wrote in his USA Today column that right now he would vote for Wisconsin's Alando Tucker as the player of the year with Fazekas and LSU's Glen Davis behind him.
Nevada, which is 16-1 overall and shares the Western Athletic Conference lead with New Mexico State at 4-0, has won nine games in a row.
Fox isn't sure how many minutes Fazekas could be able to log, but if he is able to play, he would be in the starting lineup. Fazekas had an 86-game starting streak snapped after he sat out games at San Jose State on Thursday and Hawaii on Saturday.
"He's out of that (protective) boot," Fox said. "We've been pretty cautious bringing him back, not bringing him back too quickly."
"We'll see how (the ankle) responds to the stress of the game," Fox said. "There is a chance he may not play at all, I anticipate that we'll get something from him.
"Our trainer (Shelly Germann) has done a terrific job, She has been very diligent getting him in there (for treatments) two, three times a day."