Redshirt junior forward Christian Behrens, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee just 12 days ago, has practiced this week and will play Wednesday when the Bears play Oregon at Haas Pavilion.
Behrens also said he will go through Senior Day ceremonies on Sunday alongside David Kravish, with whom he entered Cal in the 2011-12 freshman class, but intends to return next season as a grad student for his final season of basketball.
Behrens, who averages 4.9 points and 3.3 rebounds and has started 15 games this season, will come off the bench against Oregon (20-8, 10-5), the Pac-12’s third-place team. But his presence as a mobile forward could help the Bears (16-11, 6-8) against a Ducks team that often plays four perimeter players.
When Behrens underwent the surgery on Feb. 13, it seemed more likely he was done for the season than could return this soon. The injury occurred the previous week during warm-ups for Cal’s game against UCLA, when Behrens said he felt something that “wasn’t right.”
An MRI showed a bone chip floating in his knee, which was easily removed in the surgery that Behrens said “was not very invasive at all.”
He is experiencing no pain and will play against Oregon.
Coach Cuonzo Martin said he had the same surgery during his career at Purdue and was out for three weeks afterward. Given the advances in sports medicine in the meantime, Martin said he is not surprised Behrens is ready.
Against the Ducks, who start just one player taller than 6-foot-6, Martin said Behrens could
”What you have is another body,” Martin said. “It’s tough when you go into games and you’re real thin. It messes up your rotation and you have to go small. He’s a (6-8) body that understands what were trying to do, a mobile body.”
Behrens said he’s committed to return next season and Martin added, “That’s the plan.”
But Behrens hasn’t yet applied for grad school, so nothing is certain.
“I’m not quite sure what grad program I want to pursue. I guess that’s something I’ll have to figure out when it happens,” he said. “Obviously, I want to stay a Golden Bear as long as I can.”