The foundation for the University at Buffalo’s perceived rebuilding project returned to the practice floor Wednesday.

The sprained ankle that limited Yassin Idbihi to individual drills so far didn’t appear to slow the senior forward in his first full run of the season.

“I was little winded at the beginning but I felt good because I worked out hard on the elliptical (machine) while I was hurt,” Idbihi said after practice. “I’m happy to be back. Eight weeks felt like such a long time.”

The injury, sustained before practices began, is about 80 percent healed, Idbihi said.

“The only time it is sore is when I try to really jump off one leg,” he added. “So it’s still a little shaky, but it’s a lot better than it was.”

Reserve forward Darwin Young (Hutch-Tech) also returned Wednesday from a minor knee injury that has limited him, giving the Bulls a full practice squad for the first time this season.

“Certainly, it’s a good feeling to have everybody back and practicing,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “It’s new for some of our guys. We’ve got guys who’ve never played with Yassin, never seen what he can do.”

Being without Idbihi, who last month was voted preseason all-Mid-American Conference, for the first two-and-a-half weeks of practice was an initial setback, Witherspoon said, but won’t really affect the Bulls long-term prospects.

“It’s better to have him at full strength rather than rush him back into action,” Witherspoon said. “Timing, that’s where we’re set back. Not just (Yassin’s) but the timing of the players that are playing with him. He surprised them a bit today.”

For the first time in his career, Idbihi will be expected to assume a large leadership role on this young UB team. That, he said, was hard to do while injured.

“Coaches expect me to be a leader because I’ve played more games than anyone else,” he said. “But I can’t really yell at guys for messing up when I’m sitting on the sideline icing my ankle. You got to be with someone on the court to tell them that.”

Contact Jonah Bronstein at 693-100, Ext. 111.

Trending Video

Recommended for you