Dean Wade might be back two weeks into the new year. Or he could be sidelined until the middle of February.
Kansas State men’s basketball head coach Bruce Weber said that’s what doctors have told him about Wade, the team’s star senior forward, who injured his foot in the second half of Saturday’s 71-59 win over Georgia State.
“It’s just how quick it recovers,” Weber said Tuesday. “Some of it is how bad it is. ... “It could be three weeks, four weeks. It could be eight weeks. I think it’s different in every person.”
At this point, Weber said there isn’t much the Wildcats can do.
“We’ve just got to hope and pray the pain goes down, the swelling goes down and then they can get going on rehab,” Weber said. “Hope he’s back sooner than later.”
Weber also shed more light on the nature of the injury. K-State sent out a release Sunday night that noted Wade would be out for “an undetermined period of time.” The only further update offered came via a team spokesman Monday, who told The Mercury only that the injury didn’t involve the same foot as last season, when Wade went down during the Big 12 Tournament and was largely absent during the Wildcats’ run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, playing just eight total minutes in four games.
This time, Weber said Wade’s injury involves the “slight tear” of a tendon in his foot.
“Just a freak thing if you go back and watch it,” Weber said. “He shot a jump shot, landed on his foot like you always do. He backed up a step and then all of a sudden he was in extreme pain. He said it was way worse than last year. He played through the second half (the Big 12 quarterfinal game against) TCU with a slight fracture last year, so this was pretty painful for him.”
Weber also dismissed the mental toll Wade’s latest injury might have on the team.
He was more concerned about Wade himself.
“You just feel bad for him,” Weber said. “He’s such a good young man, and he’s a great example of what a college athlete should be about: developing and working on his game. Last season was cut short and he didn’t get to be part of that run. Now this year, it’s a little bit of a mess for him.”
To get through this latest bout with adversity, Weber said Wade — the Big 12’s preseason player of the year, who is averaging 13.6 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game this year — must remain optimistic.
“He’s got to be tough. It’s got to make him tougher,” Weber said. “It’s got to help our team come together. We did it last year, and now we’ll see if we can do it again.”