It might not be much longer before Kamau Stokes returns to the basketball court.
Stokes, a junior point guard, has missed Kansas State’s past five games with a broken left foot, but he no longer needs crutches or a medical boot to walk. In fact, he seems to be getting around just fine.
Not only has Stokes aggressively cheered the Wildcats from the bench throughout recent victories over Baylor and TCU, he has helped them warm up beforehand.
“He has actually made a lot of progress,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “Last Friday, he got out of the boot. He had a real shoe on and that got him excited. He will do a little bit of running these next few days.”
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Weber offered no timetable for Stokes’ return after he landed awkwardly and broke his foot during a road game against Texas Tech on Jan. 6, saying only that he would be out indefinitely.
But Stokes remained positive and vowed to return after a quick recovery process. Depending on how his injured foot responds to tests, Stokes could be ready to suit up within the next few weeks.
“I would say (he will do) some light stuff on the court, possibly next week,” Weber said, “and then we just have to see how the foot is and how he is reacting to it.”
K-State next plays Georgia on Saturday in its annual Big 12/SEC Challenge game, and then takes on Kansas on Monday. Both games will be at Bramlage Coliseum. Stokes figures to see practice time afterward, as the team will have four days to prepare for a road game against West Virginia on Feb. 3.
Stokes, a three-year starter with NCAA Tournament experience, served as K-State’s primary ball-handler in its first 15 games, averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 assists.
It will be fascinating to see how Weber eases Stokes back into the lineup whenever he returns. His absence was originally viewed as a major setback, but the Wildcats (15-5, 5-3 Big 12) have been on a roll without him, winning four of their last five to move into a tie for second place in the conference standings.
Redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra has matched Stokes’ scoring average at 13.4 points since taking over at point guard, while also sending out 3.2 assists per game.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett