The long-awaited return of Texas Longhorns center Cameron Ridley from a broken foot sustained in late December could finally happen on Thursday, when the 'Horns face off against the Baylor Bears in the second round of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
During the Big 12 coaches teleconference on Monday, Texas head coach Shaka Smart provide some big updates on his senior big man:
Smart said Cam Ridley has been cleared for quite a few basketball activities. "We're hopeful and optimistic he’ll be able to return soon."— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) March 7, 2016
Shaka said Cam Ridley will be practicing - not sure if he'll do 100 percent of work - but clearly made it sound like Cam will play Thur.— Kevin Lyttle (@klyttleAAS) March 7, 2016
There was a previous report that Ridley would miss the tournament, but it appears that may not be the case after the Monday news from Smart.
Ridley had even sparked some speculation about his availability minutes before Smart joined the teleconference when he tweeted some lyrics to a Future song:
I'm ballin like its march madness!— Cameron Ridley (@cam_ctmd55) March 7, 2016
While Ridley may have tried to play that tweet off by pointing out the source of that phrase, Smart's update only fuels the hopes of Texas fans who want to see Ridley back on the court. Since junior point guard Isaiah Taylor is dealing with the effects of plantar fasciitis, getting the 6'10, 290-pound Ridley back to provide an interior presence on both ends of the floor could provide a huge boost for the Longhorns.
Ridley was averaging career highs in points per game (12.7), rebounds per game (10), and blocks per game (3.4) in the 11 contests prior to his injury. A highly-touted recruit out of high school, Ridley was emerging as one of the most dominant two-way post players in college basketball during his senior season prior to his injury..