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Basketball: Harrison gets some practice time

Mike Montgomery said during his press conference Friday that sophomore center Taylor Harrison practiced three times this week, but remains far from being game ready.

Sidelined since the 2006-07 season because of two knee surgeries, Harrison was on the floor Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. He had practiced very little this season until now.

“He probably did more than he or anyone else anticipated him being able to do,” Montgomery said. The knee “started to swell a little bit. So we’ll see how it is (Friday), but he was out there running and playing.”

Monty said Harrison was more up to speed mentally than physically.

“His timing and so forth . . . the first day he shot some shots that almost didn’t draw gym. I thought he had a friend in the upper deck,” Montgomery said. “He actually knew more than you would have anticipated. He knew what he was doing. He’s paid attention.”

Still, the road back has a few more turns, Montgomery cautioned.

“He’s got to figure out if he can play or not. Got to see if the knee’s going to sustain everyday, hard, workout-type stuff,” Montgomery said. “It’s been a year and a half.

“Physically, I think he could help us. He’s strong, he’s willing, he’s kind of a banger. He might give us a different dimension.”

Harrison’s return might also mean that redshirt freshman forward Omondi Amoke could return to the wing, after helping out at the post in recent weeks.

Harrison, a 6-foot-10, 250-pounder, played sparingly as a true freshman in 2006-07. He had his best game against UCLA in the Pac-10 tournament, contributing five points and two rebounds to the Bears’ upset victory.

But he underwent left knee surgery shortly after the end of the ’07 season, then had a second procedure in June 2008 from which recovery has been slow.

Jeff Faraudo