Freshman PF Jack "Ahead of Schedule"

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers red-shirt freshman forward Kadeem Jack is ahead of schedule and day-to-day for his debut on a college court, according to head coach Mike Rice. Jack, who has been out since October after breaking his foot, went 1-on-1 with to discuss his highly anticipated return to full health.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Big man Kadeem Jack was the first of Rutgers coach Mike Rice's huge recruiting class to become a Scarlet Knight, but he is the last to see the court.

Jack enrolled in January and red-shirted the second half of the season, but a broken foot before this start of this season has kept him out of action. After a reassessment with team doctors this week, however, Jack is officially ahead of schedule and a return may be imminent.

"What does that mean? Well he could be day-to-day for the next 25 days if that foot doesn't respond the next day," Rice said. "If it's sore, we're going to back off it. If it can take more and is responding to the daily activity we're giving him, we'll give him more. Right now, he's day-to-day."

Jack has been with the team during practices, but is never more involved than he is now. Jack receives individual instruction on his rehab during practice and participates in certain drills with the rest of the team.

He can jump, dunk and land on his injured foot, but he is not 100 percent.

"It's always exciting to be involved with your team," Jack said. "I don't think about [my foot] at all, it's just when I land, I start feeling it. I don't really think about it at all. Pain is going to come with it."

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Jack is not expected to make an immediate change in the way the Scarlet Knights perform, but his size and athleticism will be a boost off the bench for a small, young team that likes to push the tempo.

"From where I'm coming from, I'm not really in the position to make that many predictions," Jack said. "I know for a fact, though, that I'm going to give my team 100 percent and try to make them better and get a couple of rebounds and a couple of blocks."

For Jack, simply getting in a game is all he wants at this point, sitting out of real action for the last 12 months.

"It's much more exciting," Jack said of his recovery. "For the past nine or 10 weeks, all I've been doing is dreaming of my first game. Not even just weeks, since high school I've been thinking about it. It's been a year since I played a real game. It's really exciting to know I'm day-to-day and I could get in at any time now."

Before games and at practice, Jack can frequently be observed jumping up and down and dunking. Though it worries Rice when Jack pushes things a little too far, he loves the enthusiasm, he said.

"It's the best," Rice said. "With me, I always err on the side of aggressiveness. But right now, the doctors are in charge of Kadeem and he couldn't have had a better outlook. He's ahead of schedule and he's day-to-day."

Though Jack is officially day-to-day, there is no expected timetable for his return. All he can do, Jack said, is work hard with the trainers and hope for the best.

"From the first doctor meeting that I had, it was always a good report," Jack said. "Now, I feel like if I just keep doing what I've been doing, things will happen the right way. I'm just trying to give 100 percent on each drill that the trainer gives me. I know that when I get back on the court, I'm still going to be winded, but it's going to give me a platform to keep building.

"I understand the process of it and I feel like everything is just the next step to getting back on the court. Every time I pass one step and come up to the next step, I get a little more excited."

Scarlet Report Top Stories