LARAMIE — Jake Hendricks is expected to be back on the floor at some point for Wyoming in its next game.
Exactly when — and for how long — isn’t known. Wyoming coach Allen Edwards said he doesn’t even know, but he expects one of his double-figure scorers to get his first minutes in more than a month Wednesday when the Cowboys travel to Air Force.
“He’s a tough kid at the end of the day,” Edwards said. “I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play, but I’d say it’s more of a game-time decision.”
Hendricks has been making gradual progress since tearing his LCL against UTEP on Dec. 22. Losing their third-leading scorer and top 3-point shooter at the time was yet another blow in a season full of attrition for the Cowboys (5-16, 1-7 Mountain West), who have lost seven of their last eight games and have yet to start a winning streak, but Hendricks has gotten to the point where he’s back practicing and has been cleared to play.
Edwards said he expects to get Hendricks anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes against the Falcons (9-13, 4-6 MW) as long as Hendricks is comfortable with it.
“He has to clear himself, too, in a sense of, ‘Coach, I’m ready to do this,’” Edwards said. “He did practice (Monday) with us, and we really didn’t go hard so to speak because we did a lot of breakdown stuff getting ready for Air Force. He looked OK.
“He didn’t look all himself either. We had a breakdown drill to where we played 1-on-1, and you can see he still favors it a little bit.”
Fitted with a new knee brace recently, Hendricks played in 12 games with 10 starts before the injury, which is more games than the NCAA allows for players to be granted a medical redshirt. With that no longer an option, Edwards said the plan was always to get Hendricks back on the court when he was ready.
“He said it’s not painful. It’s just not strong in a sense of jumping,” Edwards said. “Running back and forth in direct lines, he’s really good. It’s just cutting, moving and all that stuff. He’s saying, ‘I’ve got to get back used to it, Coach.’”
Hendricks is averaging 11.4 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range.