Good news coming out of Eugene on Tuesday that Ducks fans have been waiting to hear: Oregon men’s basketball center N’Faly Dante is eyeing his return to the court.
His return could come as soon as Thursday against visiting Oregon State in chapter two of this season's Civil War series.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman and senior point guard Payton Pritchard met with members of the media on Tuesday at Matthew Knight Arena:
As the @OregonMBB team gears up for this week’s Civil War, the Ducks are hopeful they’ll welcome back from injury N’Faly Dante, at least for a handful of minutes in each half. Would be a big development, no pun intended. #GoDucks— Rob Moseley (@GoDucksMoseley) February 25, 2020
For my Ducks followers: Center N'Faly Dante, who has not played since twisting his knee on Jan. 18, will return for the Civil War this week. Coach Dana Altman says Dante will be limited to playing “a few minutes a half.”— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) February 25, 2020
Dana Altman is hopeful that N'Faly Dante can be available for few minutes in each half against OSU on Thursday. Payton Pritchard was pretty definitive with his status: "Yeah. He'll play."— Matt Prehm (@MattPrehm) February 25, 2020
The Ducks are set to get their 6-foot-11 five-star freshman back.https://t.co/x1Kj350nA8 pic.twitter.com/nVnUl8W7mw
Dante was seen moving around and in warm up gear before tipping off against the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday. Dante did not play in the game.
Oregon warming up. Freshman big man N’Faly Dante has been ruled out. pic.twitter.com/DzZbCIQshs— The Wildcaster (@TheWildcaster) February 23, 2020
The 6-foot-11 center from Bamako, Mali has been battling knee tendinitis. The last game he played for Oregon was back on Jan. 8 against the University of Washington up in Seattle, WA. In the nine appearances for the Ducks, he averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds and totaled six blocks. While those numbers seem small, the big man just needs time and minutes.
He is very athletic.
Potential NBA Lottery Pick N’Faly Dante of the Oregon Ducks warming up to face Alabama St. In his debut, the 6’11” center scored 11 points in just 14 minutes. @NetScouts #nbadraft pic.twitter.com/30qSe1O9pL— Chad Mart (@ChadMart1) December 29, 2019
Oregon five star freshman N'faly Dante is warming up and well, oh my pic.twitter.com/WzxQUqsJsJ— Matt Prehm (@MattPrehm) December 19, 2019
In their first Civil War meeting, the Ducks had trouble getting into the paint from any position on the court: guards, bigs, anything. Pritchard talked about it after the game. Oregon State's Kylor Kelley, the 7-foot senior forward, recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Having Dante on the court, with his sheer size and athleticism alone, would be a dominating presence for the Ducks.