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Basketball: Wilkes likely to face USC, with mask

By Jeff Faraudo
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 5:43 pm in Basketball.

Starting center Jordan Wilkes, who suffered a concussion and broken nose last Thursday at Oregon and sat out the Oregon State game two days later, has been fitted for a protective mask and is likely to play Thursday when the Bears take on USC at Haas Pavilion.

But the 7-foot junior, on the final home weekend of his career, still must be cleared before getting the go-ahead. He will undergo a test Wednesday to determine if his memory function and reaction times demonstrate he has recovered from the concussion.

“It’s so much better than this weekend,” Wilkes said Tuesday. “It kind of feels good to feel back on this earth.”

Coach Mike Montgomery said that both Wilkes and sophomore forward Harper Kamp, who replaced him in the starting lineup at OSU, skipped all contact work in practice Monday and Tuesday. Kamp suffered a strained left calf Saturday and is  “pretty black and blue, pretty swollen,” his coach said.

“They should be ready for Thursday,” Montgomery said of the two players.

Wilkes, who is graduating this spring and has decided not to use his final season of basketball eligibility, said he was fitted on Tuesday for a mask to protect his “tender” nose.

Asked how the mask felt, Wilkes said, “I was much more concerned about breathing. It’ll be interesting. I’ve never had to do anything like that.”

Wilkes broke his nose and sustained the concussion when an Oregon player came down on him with an elbow while the two were jockeying for position under the basket. “I just started bleeding and was kind of out of it after that,” he said.

Wilkes, who said he felt helpless watching from the sidelines during the loss at Oregon State,  took a computer test for the concussion on Monday was was a bit slow on reaction time. ”Everything else was fine,” he said.  ”No headaches anymore.”

He is scheduled to re-take the test on Wednesday.  “Hopefully, I’ll pass,” he said.

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