ALBANY, N.Y. – Jojo Anderson was back on the court Friday afternoon. The UAlbany guard was recently cleared for contact and participated in his first practice since being shut down before the season started.
Anderson wore a big brace on his left knee, a visual reminder of the surgery he got in late October. At the time, Head Coach Will Brown wasn’t sure if the junior transfer out of Nevada would play at all this season, but now there is a timetable for his return.
Brown said that Anderson would ideally make his Great Danes debut on Saturday, Dec. 21 at Monmouth. That would give the point guard two games before conference play begins.
There’s plenty of progress to be made before that can happen. Anderson still has limitations. He’s not allowed to run full court more than one time down. Practice was tailored so he could fully participate. Brown said the goal was to get the Houston, Texas native involved.
Described as “nervous” and “rusty” in his first practice back, the physical tools are only part of the adversity Anderson must face.
“I think he’ll shake off the rust. I think his cardio will improve, and improve quickly,” Brown said. “I think the biggest hurdle will be from the shoulders up as far as when will he trust that knee.”
The sooner the better for the Great Danes, who could use both his playmaking ability and the depth he would provide at the point guard position. The plan is to get Ahmad Clark’s minute down a bit, while still allowing Cameron Healy to play off the ball.
“I think it’ll help the team out,” said Healy. “Jojo, he can play the one of the two. He’s a shooter, a scorer, facilitator, but I think I’m better off the ball for sure, and I’m just excited to have Jojo back. He’s going to take the pressure off and just make us more dynamic, deeper off the bench. And if he’s starting too, even deeper as a starting five, so we’re excited.”
Meanwhile, Antonio Rizzuto was sidelined with an ankle injury suffered at practice on Thursday. Brown called him “questionable at best” for the Great Danes’ game against Niagara on Saturday.