About this time a year ago, Keita Bates-Diop began experiencing discomfort that ultimately led to him undergoing season-ending surgery in January for a stress fracture in his left shin. Roughly five months removed from a having rod nailed into his leg, the Ohio State forward said things are progressing well.
“I’m good. I got cleared a few weeks ago so I’m making my way back,” Bates-Diop said June 12. “I’ve got to get my conditioning back, obviously, but I’ve been cleared to play and work out to an extent.”
While Bates-Diop was recovering from his procedure, the Normal, Ill., native watched his teammates trudge through a 17-15 season that ended with an opening-round loss to last-placed Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament.
“It was rough. It was definitely rough,” Bates-Diop said of being a spectator last winter. “I think it helped me mentally, though, how not to do things or a better way to do things.
"It happens, injuries happen, but I’m looking at it as a blessing at this point."
The 6-7, 235-pounder was able to redshirt last season and therefore has two years of eligibility remaining as he heads into the 2017-18 campaign being a fourth-year junior.
Because Bates-Diop has more than a season of collegiate experience under his belt, he could theoretically try to pursue a professional career at the conclusion of the upcoming campaign. With that, Bates-Diop was asked if he is operating under the assumption that he has two years left.
“I’m operating under the assumption that I am, yes,” he responded. “But I think urgency is a good thing, so if I look at it like this is my last year because me and (senior forward Jae’Sean Tate) came in at the same time. If I have the same mindset he has, I think we’ll be good.”
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