Simmons talks about redshirt

SEATTLE - With Tyreese Breshers out, depth along Washington's front court was going to be tested even with the addition of freshman forward Desmond Simmons. But the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Simmons, from Vallejo, Calif., has decided to redshirt after his surgically-repaired right knee has not responded to treatment.

"The decision…I had to make it," Simmons said Saturday after the Huskies blew out McNeese State 118-64. "The knee wasn't responding the way I wanted to, and I was trying to fight through it in practice but it was affecting the way I was performing. So it was smarter to get it 100 percent and not fight it instead of playing half a year somewhat healed…pretty much save a year and come back 100 percent, hopefully."

Simmons did play in Washington's 97-76 exhibition win over St. Martin's a week ago, but has since had his knee drained for fluid. He played 11 minutes, but did not score. "It's good most days, but then some days it's a little sore and it's hard to get it warmed up," Simmons said of his repaired knee, which went under the knife this past summer. "You just have to maintain the swelling with practicing every day and going hard, because I'm expected to. Maybe a couple days of rest might do it better. It kind of goes day-to-day. It feels a lot better ever since I got the fluid drained out, but prior to that, it just wasn't feeling good."

Simmons was on the bench to watch the Huskies roll over the Cowboys, and he fully believes that he'd be playing if he was healthy. "Me being a competitor, it's hard to say I'm going to sit out this year," he said. "A lot of it has to do with my knee, but at the same time, just me wanting to compete for minutes I don't ever doubt myself at all about being able to get in there and get in the mix because I know the heart I have."

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar has been talking to Simmons ever since practices started up a few weeks ago. "He just brought it to me and gave me the option (to redshirt)," Simmons said. "It was something that would be in my benefit to do, because I wouldn't be able to play to my full capabilities. He felt like it was in my best interests to get it right and work on my game and get it to where it was when I first got here, instead of just trying to fight through it all year and not playing 100 percent."

After Saturday morning's shootaround, Simmons went back to his house and called up his family in California. After a conversation with them, Simmons knew what he was going to do. "I can't ignore it," he said, matter-of-factly. "I have to take heed to it and move on from there. (Romar) left it up to me and my folks back home, and they felt the same way. If it was going to do me a disservice, go ahead and sit out and get back to 100 percent."

It's doubtful Simmons will change his mind. "Right now it's pretty definite," he said. "Unless there's some medical way that showed I'm 100 percent and back to my full abilities, I wouldn't redshirt. But since there isn't, it's pretty definite. It's about an 8 or 9 (out of 10)."

Now comes the time where Simmons will follow the advice of the UW trainers to help build him back to the player he was the 2009 and 2010 All-East Bay Player of the Year, as well as a 2010 California All-State First Team selection. "It's going to be a lot of hard work, but it's going to get me better in the long run. Whatever time I need to take off, I'll take it now that I have the time to. But if the trainers feel like it would be better to start strengthening and going hard on it, that's what I'm going to do."

Simmons has teammates he can talk to about the redshirt experience at Washington, namely C.J. Wilcox and Darnell Gant. "Me and Darnell had a little talk…for the most part Darnell has been like a big brother to me, showing me how things get down around here and helping me out," Simmons said. "He's very positive and gave me a little insight on it."

Considering how well Gant has done since his redshirt year - and Wilcox accounted for 13 points in his first game for the Huskies as a redshirt frosh - a full recovery and promising future bodes well for Simmons.

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