Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dominic James Cleared to Play Sunday

It's not often one gets a meaningful, informative, potentially NCAA Tournament-changing e-mail at 1:51 a.m. Well, that's exactly what happened when I checked my BlackBerry late last night. The title was "Marquette's Dominic James Cleared to Play Sunday," and it was from Scott Kuykendall, the Sports Information Director for Marquette basketball.

“I don't know how much he'll be able to contribute,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “The thing that I'm excited about is we're going to give him an opportunity to close out his career in the best way he possibly could. And I think the recovery has been due in large part to his work, but also because of the wisdom of Ernest (Eugene) and Dr. (Darrin) Maccoux."

James, the team's starting point guard and one of the better defensive guards in the Big East, suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot in the first half of the Golden Eagles' game against Connecticut on Feb. 25. He was expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on Feb. 27, but has been cleared to play after being evaluated over the past week.

"He worked out the day we got here, he worked out Friday morning before our game, worked out Friday night, practiced with us today," Williams said. "So medically he's been cleared, but how much he'll be able to contribute, I don't know."

Ernest Eugene, Marquette's athletic trainer, said James reached every milestone the team set for him.

“We’ve talked to some experts in the field, and these cases are known, have happened in elite athletes – college and the pros,” Eugene said. “He's been very instrumental in all this, obviously. He's been so dedicated being where he's supposed to be every day, doing what he needs to do, and he's surpassed every goal.”

James was averaging 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game prior to the injury. Marquette was 2-5 in his absence, defeating Utah State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and advancing to face No. 3 seed Missouri today.

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