COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Frank Haith has been careful not to rush back Laurence Bowers, who has missed the last five games because of a sprained right medial collateral ligament.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
This makes sense, considering Bowers importance. A 6-foot-8 senior forward, Bowers is MUs leading scorer. He missed all of last year because of an injury to his other knee.
But caution aside, if you ask point guard Phil Pressey whether Bowers, who suited up but did not play in Saturdays 81-59 win over Vanderbilt, will be ready tonight against Louisiana State, Presseys answer reveals plenty.
Ive seen him dunk, so I feel like thats good enough for me, Pressey, a junior co-captain, said with a laugh. But were taking precautions like crazy, so I wouldnt know.
During Missouris weekly media session Monday, Haith said he watched Bowers practice Sunday and wanted to see him take a hit in practice before he decided his fate for Wednesday nights game.
Later in the day, Haith seemed to indicate during his weekly Tiger Talk radio show that hed seen Bowers take another positive step in that days practice.
He practiced today full speed, did everything today, Haith said. Hell have a shot at (playing). His conditioning and timing will take some time hes not going to be great (immediately). But it will be nice to have him back.
For his part, Bowers whose Twitter handle is MU_Highflyer21 tweeted to Mississippi forward Reginald Buckner on Monday that he expects to play. Both players are from Memphis.
Bowers wrote: playing Wednesday at LSU.. Been killing me sitting out bro. His teammates can tell.
He sat out a whole year, then to come back and play as well as he was and then get hurt, that was devastating, Pressey said. But hes going to be out there as soon as he can. I know he wants to be out there on Wednesday, and I hope he can.
Senior forward Alex Oriakhi said Bowers did some post work Sunday and could tell his knee was bothering him, but sophomore guard Jabari Brown said Bowers looked fluid to him.
He looks good, Brown said, I know hes eager to play. Hes my roommate on the road, so all hes been talking about is getting back out there.
But if Bowers does play, as expected, he will be eased back into the fold. Wednesday nights game against LSU, 10-7 overall and 1-5 in the SEC, starts at 7 at the Pete Maravich Center. Missouri enters with a 15-4 record, including a 4-2 mark in the SEC.
Were going to monitor it, Haith said. I dont think we jump right in (with) him playing 30 minutes, if he does play. His minutes will be monitored for sure.