Waller Improving, Gabriel Struggling

Comments from Tay Waller and Auburn basketball coach Jeff Lebo are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn senior guard Tay Waller says he is encouraged by his recovery from a quad muscle injury and he hopes to be close to full speed when the Tigers return from a break with a road game at FSU on Thursday night.

Waller, a returning starter for Coach Jeff Lebo's basketball team, has missed six of Auburn's nine games this season and has not been full speed for any of them.

"I am getting closer and closer," Waller says. "I have been working hard in practice every day to get my timing and my wind back. I think I?got that back the last few days of practice because Coach Lebo has been running us a lot. I think I am right at about 95 percent right now."

Lebo says getting Waller back to full speed will be a big plus for his team, which has not played since defeating Virginia on Dec. 7th to move to 5-4.

Kenny Gabriel is shown in action for the Tigers.

The Tigers, who are currently in final exams, have been practicing without sophomore Kenny Gabriel this week. Expected to be a key player in his first season as a Tiger, the 6-7 forward missed five games after having hernia surgery. He has recovered from that problem, but is currently trying to overcome an ankle injury that has severely limited his mobility.

Waller says that his mobility has improved, but it is not where he wants it to be. He notes that he can move with no problem going to his right, but he is still working on getting back to full speed pushing off and moving to the left.

The senior was injured in preseason. However, he thought he was recovered enough to play, but tweaked the same muscle. "The second time I hurt it, it was more frustrating because I just got over it," he notes.

Waller is considered Auburn's best shooter and Lebo says that is an area of his team that he has been disappointed with so far this season. "We have not shot the ball very well other than one game from the three-point line," he says.

Despite averaging just 23.3 minutes per game in three contests, Waller is scoring 11.7 points per game, a number the senior and Lebo hope to see rise in the coming weeks.

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