Senior Ivan Aska, sidelined the last three weeks due to a broken hand, has been cleared to return to game action.
He proclaimed, “Immmmmmm backkkkkkkkk” to his Twitter followers Monday morning and was retweeted more than 50 times.
Racer Nation has a right to be excited.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native started each of the first 14 games of the season including the game against Eastern Illinois Dec. 30 when he broke his hand in the first half. Now the leading rebounder will make his return against the same team the Racers played when his injury occurred.
“I’m very excited just being back to interact with my teammates on the court fully and just to be able to play,” Aska said. “I’m just really happy though – I can’t tell you how happy I am, I’m just glad to be back.”
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 12.6 points and six rebounds in his first 14 games. The senior had played in 113 consecutive games before the injury.
“Everybody is excited,” Coach Steve Prohm said. “He’s a huge part of our program, a huge part of the success we’ve been able to have and a huge part of the success this program has had over the last couple of years.”
Excitement levels are high but Prohm has his concerns about Aska rebounding from a fractured hand.
“I don’t want him to play worried about his injuries, he just needs to go out there play and have fun,” Prohm said. “He plays at a high level, a high level of intensity, a high level of effort, he just needs to play like that.”
Aska, however, said he is ready.
“I’m very mentally prepared, I just have to remember it’s like my first day of practice. I can’t take no days off, I can’t,” Aska said. “We’ve got a couple of home games left, a couple of away games left and just a couple of games left of my college career and playing basketball so I’ve got to go hard everyday and just get back in the flow and it won’t take me that long. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing; eyes up.”
Despite Aska’s absence during the last six games, the No. 9/11 ranked Racers maintained play and continued the program’s longest winning streak but are now focused on one thing: the next game.
“We have to come in with the same mind frame, nothing is going to change,” junior guard Isaiah Canaan said. “We’ve just got to continue doing the things that have got us to this point. Come out, keep working each day at practice, work on our healing for the little aches and pains we may have and do the things that have got us to this point.”