Chappell working into stride

Sophomore forward saw first game action of the season Tuesday

Jason Chappell has every reason to be frustrated. For the second consecutive year he began the season riding an exercise bike on the edge of the Kohl Center floor as his Wisconsin teammates practiced. Chappell, though, made it onto that court for a game Tuesday, playing four minutes in the Badgers' 65-55 win over UW-Green Bay.

Chappell took just one shot, missing a 3-pointer from the wing, and tallied one assist and one turnover. That stats are secondary though. The important thing is that the 6-foot-10 sophomore forward played.

"It felt good to finally get back on the court and be out there in front of the crowd," Chappell said. "It's just real energizing to be out there. Hopefully I can build on it and start getting some more playing time."

Chappell redshirted last season after breaking his foot in practice. He suffered a high right ankle sprain the first day of formal practices this season, an injury that has nagged him ever since.

"It still hurts sometimes," he said. "It's just good enough to play on."

The New Berlin, Wis., native said he felt fine physically in his brief audition Tuesday. Now he just needs to work into the rotation. It is impossible to know how far Chappell would have progressed if not for the injuries but Wisconsin's coaches have praised his physical progress and potential prior to the last two seasons.

"[The injuries] have held him back some, but he's working through it," head coach Bo Ryan said Thursday.

Chappell tried to make a speedy recovery this season, playing in the Badgers' first exhibition game, but he aggravated the injury and was not physically able to play again until Wisconsin's road trip to Pepperdine. He sat on the bench for three games before entering in the second half Tuesday.

"It definitely hurt me, just put me behind everybody as far as getting in the rotation," Chappell said of the ankle injuries. "Now I have to try working my way back up. It's something you've got to live with and just deal with it and keep playing.

"It was real frustrating at the beginning of the year being out again. Then I came back the first time and it still wasn't right. It was real, real frustrating that I had to sit out again."

Chappell, the son of former NBA player Len Chappell, played sparingly as a true freshman two years ago, with just 11 minutes in eight games. An athletic, 240-pound athlete, Chappell has worked to improve his consistency, which has been impaired in part by the injuries.

"The shot was one thing. When I came back I would jump a lot more with my left foot so I'd be leaning when I shot," Chappell said. "It really screwed up my shot. That and just timing and just getting into the rhythm of a game."

A full strength Chappell would add another physical, athletic presence to an already deep Badger front court.

"At times in practice he's shown some things," Ryan said. "We're trying to just get him ready, just trying to help him in the development."

Badger Nation Top Stories