Irish freshman DJ Harvey may return in road test at Boston College
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Injuries have been the story of the season for Notre Dame men's basketball.
Beyond the loss of star senior Bonzie Colson for eight weeks and several games without point guard Matt Farrell, the Irish have dealt with several other injuries or illnesses along the way.
One of those came at the expense of freshman wing DJ Harvey, who injured his knee against Louisville in January. After a month on the sidelines, Harvey returned to practice Thursday and will be a gametime decision against Boston College on Saturday.
"It's been too long. It feels good to be back," he said. "The first day back [in conditioning] was rough, but I'm coming along well."
Harvey missed seven games since the Jan. 16 injury, and said the toughest part was knowing he could have been improving with extended minutes due to the other injuries on the team.
"Matt was out. Bonzie was out. It just hurt that I got hurt at that same time where I could have developed a lot more," he said. "It was rough sitting on the bench, but I knew I had to support the guys and I tried my best on the bench."
Harvey said the initial fear was an injured MCL or ACL, but the fact that it was a bone bruise made his recovery much smoother because he could return this season.
Still, both he and Mike Brey know if he does play on Saturday, the challenge will be preventing too much playing time too soon.
"I don't know if he can get you [12 points and 7 rebounds] like he's capable of doing," said Brey. "Just to have another body out there, a guy who can drive it and make a shot, and we loved his rebounding. There will be some break-in period. Hopefully we can help that a little bit today and tomorrow."
"I'm super excited," said Harvey. "It's been a long time since I've played a college basketball game ... I'm probably not going to get many minutes Saturday, but we'll see what happens. I'm just trying to go out there and do my game. I don't need to go out there and force the issue. I know it's going to take some getting used to."
While Harvey returned to his full role in practice, Bonzie Colson took a big step towards a possible return as well.
After the latest x-ray done on his foot fracture, Colson was cleared to remove his recovery boot and take part in light shooting. While Brey says Colson and the rest of the team are excited to see him back, the process is still far from over and they are still targeting a late February return.
"As excited as he is to come back to help us," said Brey, "I will be really cautious and sit down and talk about it before we cut him loose because there's been no basketball movement for a little while so we'll be careful."
Brey said he has even held off the conversation because he knows Colson wants so badly to return.
"I love it and I think it's good," said Brey. His frame of mind is to say he's coming back. I think middle of next week we have to have a real talk with him and doctors, and see how he's feeling after running on it a little bit."
Of course, a shot at an NCAA tournament berth would make Colson's return more sensible. To make that happen, the Irish have to finish the season strong and make a run in the ACC Tournament.
"We're in a territory now where we have to start picking off a couple and getting closer to .500 in the league," Brey said, knowing the Irish stand at 5-8 in ACC play. "We're going to have to start doing some things to actually be realistically in the discussion."
That run begins in Chestnut Hill, Mass. on Saturday, when the Irish take the floor to try completing the season sweep of Boston College.