Bourama Sidibe still battling through ‘terrible’ tendinitis condition

first_imgDETROIT — A few minutes into a light practice Thursday afternoon, Syracuse freshman forward Bourama Sidibe was flying high. After rising up for a left-handed jam, he ducked his head so it didn’t hit the backboard. He landed on both feet and smiled as he jogged to his next station in the shootaround.But less than 21 hours earlier, Sidibe hobbled around University of Dayton Arena. He played just six minutes on the court and recorded one rebound. He was sidelined for most of the game due to tendinitis in his left knee.The contrast in Sidibe’s condition over the past two days epitomizes his ongoing battle with tendinitis, a condition in which the tissue connecting muscle to bone becomes inflamed, according to WebMD. Sidibe said Thursday that he first felt discomfort in his left knee last May. When he arrived at SU in the fall, the condition increasingly grew worse. He said it has bothered him intermittently throughout the season, and he may need surgery after the season.Despite the discomfort, Sidibe knows that Syracuse likely will need him to log minutes off the bench for starting center Paschal Chukwu when the Orange (21-13, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) tips off against sixth-seeded Texas Christian. Start time is slated for 9:40 p.m. Friday night in the NCAA Tournament first round matchup at Little Caesars Arena.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I’m in the game, sweating, it doesn’t feel bad that much,” Sidibe said. “If I play one minute, or two minutes, then come out, I feel it a lot. I want more playing time, then I can forget about my knee.”But after Syracuse’s win over Clemson to close out the regular season, head coach Jim Boeheim said all the Orange needs from Sidibe is a few minutes. Providing a relief for Chukwu can pay dividends late in games, he said. Sidibe also must be ready to hop in for brief stints if Chukwu runs into foul trouble.In early December, Sidibe dropped from his average of splitting about 20 minutes per game at center with Chukwu to about 10 minutes per game. He received treatment every day of the fall and has worked with trainer Brad Pike throughout the season to reduce soreness. On Dec. 27, Boeheim mentioned the possibility that SU might shut down Sidibe and apply a medical redshirt, though that never became a serious consideration.For the start of conference play, Sidibe usually played between five and 15 minutes per game, save for an explosion at Pittsburgh in January, when he notched career highs in points (18), rebounds (16) and minutes (28). But he has since hobbled around the court in his limited playing time, currently averaging 2.7 points and 3.3 boards per game.“He’s the same as he’s felt all year: terrible,” Boeheim said Thursday. “He’s been bad for the whole year. It’s not going to change today. He’s doing the best he can on it. He has pain every time he plays. It’s been hurting him. As soon as we’re done playing, we’ll get it fixed. He’s in constant pain. He can’t jump.”Sidibe impressed early this season with an uncanny ability to time shots and block them, a trait driven in part by his experience catching pigeons. That was a large reason the SU coaching staff grew interested in the 6-foot-10 forward out of St. Benedict’s (New Jersey) High School, head coach Mark Taylor said. Taylor added that Sidibe battled through tendinitis at the end of his senior season a year ago. He tailored his workouts last summer to strengthening his lower half and knee, Taylor said.While Sidibe has produced mixed results in his restricted time on the floor, both he and Boeheim know what he needs to do moving forward. Keep hobbling along to give Chukwu a relief, however brief that may be.“In the morning tomorrow they’ll notify me if, and how much, I’ll play tomorrow,” Sidibe said. “I’m waiting for the opportunity, feeling pretty good.” Comments Published on March 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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