Oregon is the consensus pick to win the Pac-12 this season, but the reigning player of the year may still be on hiatus.
After undergoing foot surgery over the summer, Dillon Brooks still has not participated in any live portions of practice during the preseason and it remains very much in question if he will be ready to play when the Ducks open against Army on Nov. 11th.
“I have no idea,” Altman told FanRag Sports on Thursday when he was asked if Brooks would be ready for the season opener. “He’s out of the boot and he’s doing some non-contact stuff, but we still don’t know. He has another meeting scheduled with the doctor next week and we’ll go from there.”
The 6-7 Brooks was a mismatch for opponents as an undersized power forward last season and led Oregon to a Pac-12 regular season and tournament title as well as an appearance in the Elite Eight. He averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 15-16 while shooting 47.0 percent from the floor.
The Ducks’ deep perimeter featuring Casey Benson, Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis, and freshman Payton Pritchard made the preseason extremely critical for Oregon from a chemistry perspective. This team also brings back two key front court contributors in Chris Boucher and Jordan Bell while adding another capable player in JUCO big man Kavell Bigby-Williams.
Without Brooks available, it’s been difficult for Altman to get a feel on where certain pieces fit best.
“He’s obviously a big part of what we want to do,” Altman said of Brooks. “It’s been hard not having him available.”
Oregon’s second game of the season is Baylor on Nov. 15th and then the Ducks return home to host VALPO two days later. Oregon then heads to the Maui Invitational, where it will open the field against Georgetown.
Jon Rothstein has been a college basketball insider for CBS Sports since 2010 and is the lead college basketball columnist for the FanRag Sports Network. He is also the host of the College Hoops Today Podcast via Compass Media Networks, which is available via iTunes. Rothstein is also a regular in-studio correspondent for both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio. He currently lives in Manhattan.