Sophomore guard will travel with Arizona basketball to Washington schools
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat
Arizona Wildcats basketball first half action against the Cal Golden Bears from Haas Pavilion on the Campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
Injured guard Jordin Mayes is getting closer to returning to the court, Arizona men’s basketball head coach Sean Miller said on Tuesday. Miller said Mayes’ pain tolerance is improving, but the Wildcats are still cautious about how much Mayes will be able to contribute this weekend.
“He’s made progress. He’s in a much better place right now than he was, but I don’t know if that is going to allow him to be with us this weekend,” Miller said.
Mayes will make the trip to Washington and could possibly see playing time this weekend.
“There is an outside chance that he could, but we’re going to wait until he’s pain free so we don’t put him at further risk,” Miller said. “Maybe he can play a little bit on Saturday, not on Thursday. But we’ll learn more and more over the next two or three days.”
If the sophomore does play this weekend, he will see action against Washington, Arizona’s second opponent, rather than Washington State, which the Wildcats visit on Thursday.
Mayes hurt his foot against Cal on Feb. 2, straining the screw used to repair his broken foot over the summer. The loss of Mayes brought the rotation down to just seven players for the Wildcats, forcing freshman guards Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson to split time at point guard.
Miller said that, while it’s possible Mayes will see action on Saturday, it’s more likely that he’ll be ready to play next weekend. By the time USC and UCLA visit McKale Center, it will have been three weeks since Mayes’ injury occurred. Miller said Mayes’ timeline to return was favorable, assuming Mayes didn’t suffer a setback as part of increasing practice activity.
Junior Solomon Hill said he’s seen Mayes shooting and doing “little workouts” as part of the Wildcats’ plan to increase the guard’s activity. Miller said the coaching staff was being cautious with the speed of his recovery and keeping a close eye on Mayes’ pain tolerance.
“We get to a certain point and he experiences some pain and then we shut him down,” Miller said.
Senior guard Brendon Lavender has seen increased minutes as a result of Mayes’ injury. He averaged nearly 23 minutes over Arizona’s last three games and made an impact with 12 points in the Wildcats’ win over Utah. He still plans to get in his minutes when Mayes returns, but said the Wildcats need Mayes’ experience running the point as Arizona makes a push for the postseason.
“Mayes is a huge factor in the game,” Lavender said. “We really need him right now, and, unfortunately, he’s hurt.”