Henderson Talks About Injury, Return

After breaking a bone is his right hand during the preseason, Mike Henderson missed Iowa's first five games. The Iowa point guard spoke with reporters on Monday and talked about his possible return to the court this weekend, the struggles of teammate Tony Freeman and more in this HN.com Premium Q&A.

How does it feel?

It's feeling pretty good. Right now, it's a process of me getting flexibility back in my hand. I didn't expect this part, but my wrist is kind of weak, too, from being in a cast. That's probably another thing that I have to get flexibility in. For the most part, they said it's looking pretty good, and they were pretty surprised by the flexibility that I had so far. So it's looking pretty good.

Can you move your (injured) fingers at all?

Oh yeah, I can move them. I was buddy taping (taping his ring and pinky fingers on his right hand) trying to dribble and trying to shoot. But my wrist is too weak to shoot, so, I'm just dribbling and trying to stay in shape and just watching the guys play.

So, do you think weekend is possible?

It's very possible. Friday is a legitimate shot. Like I said, it's just the process. After this, I'll be taking my buddy tape off and just being in class trying to get flexibility and things like that. It's just a process right now.

What was it like watching from back here while the team was on its trip?

It's rough because I just want to be out there with them so bad. From a viewer's perspective, there are always things that you can see and things that you can say to somebody. At home watching, it was tough. I know I should be out there with the guys trying to help them win.

Do you yell at the TV at all?

(Laughs) I definitely yelled on that last-second shot. I couldn't believe that shot went in. It was heartbreaking because they were playing so hard. They were up and they were down; they fought back; and for that shot to go down, it was definitely devastating.

Can you sympathize with some of the things that Tony is going through?

Once he got back, we kind of sat down and talked. I was just telling him that it's a process. When I was a sophomore, I didn't have to run the point all by myself. He's kind of thrown into the fire right now, but he's a great player. As long as he relaxes and just plays, the sky is the limit for him. You saw the first game, he had 11 assists. He was just under control. I told him as long as he's patient and looks to penetrate more, it will just open the game up more for him.

Did he have you on speed dial? Was he calling from the Virgin Islands?

He called me from over at the Paradise Jam. We talked briefly. Once he got to Arizona, he called and we talked. I basically told him that he has to make better decisions. There were a couple of forced shots. He's still young. He's a sophomore. You don't really know what to do when a game situation comes like that. It's just a big learning curve right now. We've got a lot of new guys. When it comes down to it, it's going to help everything out, just being put in those situations.

If you were a pro player, now would be the perfect time for you to ask for a contract extension or a raise. Coach Alford said that they really miss you.

I'm definitely eager to get back out there with the guys. I've been trying to work extra hard to try to get in top, top condition. You can run and you can jog and you can do all of those types of things, but it's a difference from being in game shape. I'm just trying to sprint as hard as I can so it resembles being in game shape.

So, there's no chance you playing Wednesday night at Virginia Tech?

Right now, I think that would just be too early. For one, I haven't been able to get out there on the court with the guys and just trying to jump into a game. That would kind of be awkward. I haven't shot or anything. Friday is kind of more of a legitimate shot. That's kind of what I'm looking at right now.

Are you making the trip, though?

I'm definitely making the trip. I'll be with the guys supporting them all the way.

Will you put the uniform on, do you think?


If you put the uniform on, then…

(Laughs) It's possible. Coach was joking with me today. He told me to go get Justin. I was eager to get out there. I was just going to use my left hand the whole time. But he grabbed me before I tried to run on the court. So, he's been joking with me. It's coming. Right now, it's just a process.

Are you going to put some type of padding on it?

I might have to buddy tape it still, pretty much that might be the only thing. Really, more than y finger, it's more in my wrist right now. I tried to shoot today, and I was shooting air balls. Once my wrist gets into it, to get back out on the court and get going.

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