Last December, Mo Walker tore the posterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee, ending his season and apparently forecasting the bad luck that would follow for the Gophers.
But while the Gophers’ other season losses – now-graduated Al Nolen’s broken foot and guard Devoe Joseph’s departure to Oregon – were permanent hardships, Walker will most likely be back this year for Minnesota.
“I’ve been pushing it pretty hard, so we’re pretty much on schedule,” he said. “They haven’t given me an exact date or a specific time to be back. It’s really day-to-day, how I’m feeling. I feel like I’m going to be ready to go back soon.”
Some highlights on his recovery:
Walker – who played in all 12 games leading up to the Dec. 23 injury against South Dakota, and contributed solid production off the bench – said he would need to “ease” back into that role. He averaged 3.7 ppg and 2.8 rpg on 19-37 shooting last season before his injury.
After Walker got hurt, he started placing a greater emphasis on “eating right” and building more strength around his leg. The sophomore comes into the 2011 season more than 20 pounds lighter than he was before his injury (295 vs. 320).
At last week's Media Day, Tubby said Walker was probably not going to be ready for full contact for 1-2 weeks, so he should be close to really testing things out. Walker said last week he could run full speed but his knee still bothers him a bit when he does.
After watching a shrunken squad from the bench last year, Walker is ready to get involved again.
Marcus Fuller joined the Star Tribune in 2016 after 11 years covering Gophers sports – and just about every other team and league in town -- for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Before making the Twin Cities his home, Marcus spent two years in The Kansas City Star sports department. Marcus grew up in Hawaii and is a 2002 graduate of San Jose State. Follow Fuller on Twitter @Marcus_R_Fuller.