The men’s basketball team has been without its only true center since a loss against Bradley on Nov. 28.
But, it looks like a return is in sight.
Senior center Zach Saylor said he is ready to play for Central Michigan after sustaining a mini-meniscus tear in his left knee.
“It feels great to be cleared,” he said. “It has been five weeks to this day that I had my surgery and I’m getting back to the rhythm of things.”
Head coach Keno Davis said he is still calling Saylor’s status day-to-day after he played in limited practice Thursday.
“Now that he’s cleared, it’s more of just making sure that he’s improving and getting some stamina back,” Davis said. “We want to put him out there when we feel like he can be successful for us and help us win.”
Davis said when Saylor is inserted back into the rotation there will not be changes on offense or defense. It will just be an added player with experience and who can play in the frontcourt for the team.
Saylor said it has been a recovery that has been easier as a result of being riddled with injuries throughout his five-year career with the Chippewas.
“I’ve been here before with my shoulders, so that’s helped a lot,” he said. “That’s helped me go through it. But, just taking it as it comes, just slowly, build yourself back up and you will be fine.”
He was limited to nine games in his first year, missed the first 13 games in his sophomore season, and had to be red-shirted in his junior year because of injuries.
Saylor started in all six games he played to start this season and averaged 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
He had a career-high in points with 14 and also had six rebounds against Olivet on Nov. 16.
Davis gave him high praise after the game.
“Every good team has a Zach Saylor on it,” Davis said. “He’s not going to play well each and every day, but, he’s going to play hard, and as a coach, you can’t be upset with Zach Saylor when he doesn’t have a good game because you know he’s giving everything he’s got out there.”
If Saylor plays against Ball State on Saturday, he could aid the team in halting a two-game losing streak.
“I believe I can help this team win,” he said. “The past two games have been unfortunate. They’ve been close, but they have been playing together as a team and playing to win.”