Jordan Dartis leapt for a rebound during practice Thursday and came down awkwardly on his side. Most of the players and staff collectively “Ooo”ed, with genuine concern for the star shooting guard who’d already missed most preseason practices with a hip injury.
Dartis immediately lifted both hands, smiled, and said, “I’m good, I’m good.” Shortly after, he sunk a 3-pointer at the other end of the floor with ease.
Coach Saul Phillips said Thursday that Dartis will start when the Bobcats host Capital University (Division III) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
“Excited is the key word for me right now,” Dartis said. “I’m gonna be playing a little bit Saturday and just get my legs back under me and go from there.”
Weeks ago, Dartis lunged to the perimeter while playing defense and injured his hip. In the time since, he’s undergone a series of rehab activities, including ice baths, deep tissue massages and various stretching exercises.
With twice-weekly physical therapy sessions, he’ll continue rehabbing throughout the season — but injury risk won’t be his focus.
“Don’t get it twisted, I worry about my health,” he said. “But we’re just playing the game, honestly … (Injuries are) gonna happen; it’s basketball. People might worry about the injury but I just worry about playing and trying to get the (win).”
Dartis is slated to be a crucial piece of the Bobcats’ backcourt this year, coming off a sophomore season in which he finished in Ohio’s top three in points, assists, steals, 3-point shooting percentage and minutes.
His 3-point percentage (44.1 percent) led the Mid-American Conference and was 11th-best in the NCAA.
With all that in mind, Phillips will likely be cautious with Dartis’ usage, especially in an exhibition game against a non D-I opponent.
“You might see a little more rest (for Dartis) during the course of the game than maybe you will by the time we get into the conference tournament,” Phillips said. “But that could all go out the window if we’re down five.”