The Duke-bound junior big man, who has missed the entire season with stress fractures in his back that have forced him to wear a brace for 23 hours per day, has practiced for two consecutive days and is expected to see limited minutes in Carmel High's home game against Center Grove on Friday night.
``It's definitely gotten better," McRoberts said of his back. "The pain isn't that bad any more."
The injury, just the second of his life (he had a stress fracture in his foot during the summer of his seventh-grade year), has forced him to watch a high school game from the sidelines for the first time. The team has managed to go 6-4 in his absence.
``It really bothers me because I'd started every game in high school and my goal was to start every game all four years," he said. "But the rehab went well. There's really not too much you can do with this kind of injury except rest."
Despite the fact that McRoberts has been cleared to play, the brace will remain – at least until a doctor's appointment later this month.
Don't expect monster numbers from McRoberts this weekend (he also has a game Saturday, but it's still unclear whether he'll play in back-to-back nights or not). He'll only be allowed to play a couple minutes in each of the first two quarters on Friday and, depending on how he feels, that could be increased a little in the second half.
Last season, as a sophomore, McRoberts averaged 16 points, nine boards and three blocks as the team finished 14-8.
``The first day of practice – on Monday – went well," McRoberts said. "It was light, but I still got the adrenaline going. My back didn't really hurt at all and afterwards I just had a little pain."
While he's been out of action, McRoberts has had plenty of time to watch his future team. In fact, he said he hasn't missed a game yet. Last night his eyes were glued to the television, watching the Blue Devils dispose of Fairfield.
``I've seen every game, even the ones in Alaska, when I had to stay up late," he said. "The Purdue game was tough, but they've been fun to watch. Not just for me, but for my parents as well. Now we feel like we know some of the people, so it's more fun."
``They have a great team," he added. "They have so much versatility. Tonight Loul didn't start. They can go small or big, they can move Shavlik inside or outside. They can really make the other team have to play any style they want."