Five Pac-12 Players Coming Back From Injury

Posted by Andrew Murawa on October 28th, 2015

Earlier today we reviewed five players from around the Pac-12 who are dealing with serious injuries expected to cost them at least some portion, if not all, of the upcoming season. Happier topics are on tap this afternoon as we grab a peek at five guys who missed all or part of last year but are expected to return to full strength this time around.

Kameron Rooks, California – Let’s start with the Golden Bears big man who we haven’t seen in a game since February 2014. At that time, he was (prematurely) wrapping up a freshman season in which he averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 boards in 7.0 MPG. That campaign ended early due to a stress reaction in his foot. His sophomore season didn’t even get that far, stopping before it began when Rooks tore his left ACL over the summer. Now, the son of former Arizona star Sean Rooks appears to be back to full strength and is expected to provide quality size and depth (along with sophomore Kingsley Okoroh) along the front line for the Bears. Don’t expect a ton of points from the redshirt sophomore, especially considering the offensive punch that exists in the Cal backcourt, but on a team with aspirations of making a national splash, he could play a large part in determining who winds up cutting down various nets this season.

If Kameron Rooks Can Play A Full Season, The Golden Bears Will Have A Deep Frontcourt (Kelley Cox, USA Today)

If Kameron Rooks Can Play A Full Season, The Golden Bears Will Have a Deep Frontcourt (Kelley Cox, USA Today)

Jordan McLaughlin, USC – We spent some time on Monday discussing the importance of McLaughlin to the Trojans’ season-long hopes. To summarize: On a team with plenty of talent, USC needs a floor general who can not only produce his own offense but can also open things up for the players around him. McLaughlin’s freshman season was cut short when his shoulder “popped out of its socket.” He underwent surgery on both shoulders over the summer in hope of preventing this reoccurring injury from, well, reoccurring, but the success of the procedure remains to be seen. If McLaughlin returns to the lineup without incident, he and junior guard Julian Jacobs will need to learn to coexist in the backcourt. This shouldn’t be too  much of an issue, though, especially if the sophomore guard spends more of his on-court time playing off the ball.

Kodi Justice, Arizona State – Justice played in 18 of the Sun Devils’ first 20 games as a freshman last year, but a broken foot ended his season for good in late January. All reports are that his subsequent rehabilitation has been successful. If the claims of perfect health are true, Justice’s ability to play both guard spots with creativity and aggressiveness should make him the first player off the Arizona State bench this season. He could be due for a big uptick in production if he lives up to new head coach Bobby Hurley’s defensive standards.

Grant Verhoeven, Stanford – After hip surgery last offseason, this 6’9 senior played in just eight games in December and early January before calling it quits for the year. A grinder down low, Verhoeven was considered a four-star recruit in Stanford’s 2012 recruiting class. Three seasons later, he has never played more than 200 total minutes in a single year. With center Stefan Nastic departed, a healthy Verhoeven could step into a much bigger role for the Cardinal as a solid interior rebounder and defender.

Reid Travis' Physical Game Means Double-Double Potential Every Night (Geoff Burke, USA Today)

Reid Travis’ Physical Game Means Double-Double Potential Every Night (Geoff Burke, USA Today)

Reid Travis, Stanford – Another Stanford big man coming off an injury-riddled season is Travis, a 2014 McDonald’s All-American. Last year Travis managed to play in 28 of the Cardinal’s 37 games, including all seven games of the postseason. In Stanford’s Pac-12 Tournament games and NIT title run, Travis averaged just under seven points and six boards per outing. But after missing nine games in the middle of his rookie year as a result of a stress fracture in his upper leg, the general feeling around the program was that he never really got cooking. This season, minus last year’s top three scorers, an opportunity exists for the healthy Travis to bust out. If the Cardinal’s summer trip to Italy is any indication, the sophomore could be a threat to post a double-double on any given night.

AMurawa (999 Posts)

Andrew Murawa Likes Basketball.

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