Knee Not Bothering Ejim

There are currently 15 players ahead of Ejim in Iowa State's record books for most games started, but he needs just 30 more starts to tie Jeff Grayer at No. 1

Melvin Ejim took flight from the left side of the paint and soared toward the hoop, with malicious intent of ramming home a putback dunk. Instead, the ball got stuffed on the rim and bounced back.

No worry. Ejim grabbed his own rebound and sprung up quickly, laying in his first bucket of his senior season, delayed by two games because of a hyper-extended left knee, for which he now wears a brace.

The play was just what Ejim needed to know his body could handle its old demands.

"That was a good test for me, I'm glad I didn't think about it," Ejim said Monday. "Some guys might have been thinking like, My knee, I don't want to jump. I just kind of went up there as instinct and I got up and I landed and I went back up really quick. I was just like, Wow, I guess I'm fine. I thought, I'm OK, I can go, I can jump, I can do whatever I can.

"I think it helped me mentally prepare for what was going to be for the rest of the game."

Ejim led the way with 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Iowa State's 77-70 win over No. 7 Michigan on Sunday, which moved the Cyclones into the AP Top 25 in advance of their trip to BYU on Wednesday.

Better yet for Ejim, he got out of bed Monday with nary a howl from his knee.

"I think I'm good, think I'm fine," he said. "I don't feel bad, no nagging injuries. Everything's fine. On the outside it feels like it's good but I'll continue to listen to the training staff, continue to listen to doctors and see how it goes."

Said head coach Fred Hoiberg: "He woke up feeling great. Didn't have any pain or discomfort, was a little stiff but I think that was just more of the amount of activity he had."

Now the question becomes whether Ejim is ready for a full load, like the 27.6 minutes he averaged per game last season.

A subplot looms as well: There are currently 15 players ahead of Ejim in Iowa State's record books for most games started, but he needs just 30 more starts to tie Jeff Grayer at No. 1. There are 28 guaranteed games left, including the opener of the Big 12 tourney, then a possible run in Kansas City and a postseason tournament.

The chase for that record could be the convincing kick Hoiberg needs to send Ejim out with the starting five.

"We'll see," Hoiberg said. "We'll figure that all out.

"May have a little soreness and stiffness today, may have to limit [Ejim's] minutes in practice. Not gonna go too long and hard, anyway."

Ejim played 28 of 40 possible minutes Sunday, different from the plan Hoiberg originally drew up when he got word Ejim was making an early return. Hoiberg wanted to ease the senior forward back, but his play was so good, and so necessary, against Michigan's mammoth Mitch McGary, that it was tough to keep Ejim on the bench for long.

Thanks to the underwater treadmill at Iowa State's Bergstrom football complex and the stationary bike, Ejim was able to stay in good shape while enduring minimal impact to his knee.

A fitted brace keeps Ejim from full stretch of movement, intended of course to keep it from hyper-extending again.

"I don't have a problem with the brace, I don't think it affects me mentally or physically," Ejim said. "It does its job and I'm thankful for that."


AllCyclones Top Stories

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Melvin Ejim took flight from the left side of the paint and soared toward the hoop, with malicious intent of ramming home a putback dunk. Instead, the ball got stuffed on the rim and bounced back.

No worry. Ejim grabbed his own rebound and sprung up quickly, laying in his first bucket of his senior season, delayed by two games because of a hyper-extended left knee, for which he now wears a brace.

The play was just what Ejim needed to know his body could handle its old demands.

\"That was a good test for me, I'm glad I didn't think about it,\" Ejim said Monday. \"Some guys might have been thinking like, My knee, I don't want to jump. I just kind of went up there as instinct and I got up and I landed and I went back up really quick. I was just like, Wow, I guess I'm fine. I thought, I'm OK, I can go, I can jump, I can do whatever I can.

\"I think it helped me mentally prepare for what was going to be for the rest of the game.\"

Ejim led the way with 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Iowa State's 77-70 win over No. 7 Michigan on Sunday, which moved the Cyclones into the AP Top 25 in advance of their trip to BYU on Wednesday.

Better yet for Ejim, he got out of bed Monday with nary a howl from his knee.

\"I think I'm good, think I'm fine,\" he said. \"I don't feel bad, no nagging injuries. Everything's fine. On the outside it feels like it's good but I'll continue to listen to the training staff, continue to listen to doctors and see how it goes.\"

Said head coach Fred Hoiberg: \"He woke up feeling great. Didn't have any pain or discomfort, was a little stiff but I think that was just more of the amount of activity he had.\"

Now the question becomes whether Ejim is ready for a full load, like the 27.6 minutes he averaged per game last season.

A subplot looms as well: There are currently 15 players ahead of Ejim in Iowa State's record books for most games started, but he needs just 30 more starts to tie Jeff Grayer at No. 1. There are 28 guaranteed games left, including the opener of the Big 12 tourney, then a possible run in Kansas City and a postseason tournament.

The chase for that record could be the convincing kick Hoiberg needs to send Ejim out with the starting five.

\"We'll see,\" Hoiberg said. \"We'll figure that all out.

\"May have a little soreness and stiffness today, may have to limit [Ejim's] minutes in practice. Not gonna go too long and hard, anyway.\"

Ejim played 28 of 40 possible minutes Sunday, different from the plan Hoiberg originally drew up when he got word Ejim was making an early return. Hoiberg wanted to ease the senior forward back, but his play was so good, and so necessary, against Michigan's mammoth Mitch McGary, that it was tough to keep Ejim on the bench for long.

Thanks to the underwater treadmill at Iowa State's Bergstrom football complex and the stationary bike, Ejim was able to stay in good shape while enduring minimal impact to his knee.

A fitted brace keeps Ejim from full stretch of movement, intended of course to keep it from hyper-extending again.

\"I don't have a problem with the brace, I don't think it affects me mentally or physically,\" Ejim said. \"It does its job and I'm thankful for that.\"

Follow @All_Cyclones

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