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Jordin Mayes’ return from injury uncertain; Miller hopes for next week

Jordin Mayes

Jordin Mayes is averaging 5.5 points this season. Photo by Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats point guard Jordin Mayes, suffering from a stress reaction in his right foot, could optimistically return next week, coach Sean Miller said Tuesday.

Miller basically ruled out Mayes from this week’s home games vs. Colorado and Utah, saying an appearance from Mayes is “probably improbable.” After that, who knows?

Could be next week. Could be as late as the Pac-12 tournament next month.

“It’s a matter of when his pain subsides, and we anticipate it will,” Miller said.

“As it subsides, he will be cleared to practice, and he’s able to practice and handle the discomfort that he has, then we’ll clear him for games.”

Mayes suffered the injury at Cal last Thursday, and it was initially feared that he had had sustained a broken bone in the foot. He suffered the same injury last summer and had a screw inserted into his right foot.

“The good news is that his surgery and everything that happened previously is completely intact,” Miller said.

“Jordin is relieved that his foot isn’t broken. When you go through what he did, you always think worst-case scenario. We all did, because it’s the same foot and roughly the same area. …

“He already feels a little bit better, which is a good sign. We’re hoping that a week from today, or five days from now, he feels significantly better. … He doesn’t have any swelling at this point, which is a great sign.”

Mayes, a sophomore, is averaging 5.5 points and 18.2 minutes per game. He is one of the team’s best 3-point shooters, although recent struggles dragged his percentage down to 31.3 (20 of 64).

Without Mayes, freshman shooting guard Nick Johnson takes over backup minutes behind starting freshman Josiah Turner.

“We’ve always played Nick, from the first day of practice, as our third point,” Miller said.

“He knows our system and that is really to his credit. It’s one of the many things that Nick Johnson brings to the table. It’s difficult for a freshman to learn two positions, and we’ve asked him to do that since day one.

“It’s important to have someone who can run our system and play the game how we want it played, and Nick can do that.”

Senior shooting guard Kyle Fogg is the emergency point guard, although his lack of practice time at the position means the offense would be limited.

“We wouldn’t be able to run every play that we run,” Miller said. “We’d be kind of out there playing at that point.”

Miller went with a seven-man rotation at Stanford on Saturday, which could very well be the case again this week, especially in a close game. Big man Kryry Natyazhko, who started the first six games, is now buried on the depth chart, with freshman Angelo Chol being the first post player off the bench.

If his team is in foul trouble, Miller said he might turn to a pair of walk-ons — guard Dondre Wise and wing Max Wiepking — to provide a few solid minutes.

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