Wroten Joins Polk In Huskies' 'Quick Healing Club'
Oct. 25, 2011
By Gregg Bell
SEATTLE - Tony Wroten has yet to play a game for the Huskies. Heck, he's only been a UW student for a month.
Yet he and Huskies star running back Chris Polk already have something in common: Even knee surgery can't keep them out.
Coach Lorenzo Romar said Tuesday his heralded freshman point guard will start his Huskies career on time next month despite arthroscopic surgery five days earlier on his previously repaired knee.
"First of all, he's doing great," Romar said during his team's second full week of preseason practice. "We're hopeful that Monday that he's able to participate in some drills, with the expectation that he definitely will be playing in our opener Nov. 12 (against Georgia State) - and maybe even Nov. 4th in our exhibition game."
To Wroten, there's no doubt. The 6-foot-5 former star at Garfield High School in Seattle has been on the side of practices this week, doing agility and range-of-motion exercises with a team trainer along the baseline and sidelines. He may be jogging before the weekend, after having surgery last Thursday.
"Oh, no, I will be playing in the opener," Wroten declared before Tuesday's practice.
He didn't mean the regular-season opener, either.
"Against Seattle Pacific," Wroten said, meaning the exhibition.
"I won't miss any games. ... I'm feeling great."
Polk, Washington's perennial 1,000-yard rusher, had a similar, arthroscopic surgery Aug. 18. He rushed for 125 yards in the Huskies' football opener two weeks and two days later.
"I saw him around after the surgery, and he was walking around on it the day after surgery. He seemed real cool," Wroten said of Polk. "When I saw him playing I was like, `Man, he came back fast!'
"Then he told me he had something similar to me. So that just gave me more confidence."
The quick recovery of the tall point guard expected to contribute immediately when the Huskies, the defending two-time Pac-10 tournament champions, begin their season underlines how relatively insignificant Wroten's procedure was.
"When you talk about minor, it was minor it every sense of the word," Romar said.
Wroten's procedure was on the same, right knee on which he had reconstructive knee surgery during his junior year of high school following a football injury. Romar pointed out it is not uncommon for those with knee ligament repairs to require follow-up surgeries.
"Sometimes there's some extra scar tissue they have to clean out. That's actually what his was about," Romar said. "He will actually be feeling better than he did last year when he played for Garfield, and when he played this summer. He will be able to move a little better. There will be less discomfort there.
"As I said before, he probably could have played the whole year without having it done, but it would just be nagging."
Romar said Wroten, one the Huskies' seven freshmen, is "chomping at the bit" to join practice "because he's supposed to be out there."
The member of the 2009-10 USA Basketball developmental national team can't wait to feel completely pain free in the knee, for a change.
"Oh, I am real excited," Wroten said. "I was feeling good enough to play, even with my banged-up knee. But now the doctors are saying I'm going to be much better and quicker, and I'm not going to be in as much pain.
"I just can't wait to get out there."
QUICK SHOTS: Romar likes how versatile his tall, long team has been so far in practices. In an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, Romar had point guard Abdul Gaddy playing on the same team with 6-7 Desmond Simmons, 6-8 Martin Breunig, 6-8 Darnell Gant and 7-footer Aziz N'Diaye. "Four `bigs' were on the floor at the same time," Romar said. "Again, our system, we just switch `em around. Everyone gets their hand in. We're pretty versatile." ... Gaddy continues to look quicker and more sure of himself than he was before reconstructive knee surgery in January - and he was ultra steady with a better than 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover margin last season before he got hurt. "I'm feeling better. Older. Wiser. I feel quicker," Gaddy said.