PROVO — BYU forward Stephen Rogers is hopeful that he'll be able to return to the court Thursday, when the Cougars visit Loyola Marymount.
Rogers has been sidelined since mid-December, just before the Dec. 17 loss to Baylor, after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The 6-foot-8 junior practiced Monday and Tuesday this week.
"It feels great," Rogers said of his knee. "It feels good to be back in the gym with the guys."
Will he be able to play Thursday?
"That's the hope. I think so," he said. "It just depends on the medical staff and if I get cleared. It will probably be a game-time type of thing. I've been able to practice the last couple of days and it hasn't bothered me and it hasn't swelled up at all. Hopefully that means I'll be able to play."
Rogers played in the first 10 games for the Cougars and averaged 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He is shooting 51 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from 3-point territory.
Should Rogers be available to play, it would be a big boost to BYU.
"It means a lot. We're a very deep team and we count on contributions from everyone," said senior Charles Abouo. "Stephen's been huge for us all year. Getting him back is just going to help us even more. He's feeling a lot better. He looks good out here in practice. We'd love to have him if he's ready."
Coach Dave Rose said Rogers has looked good in practice this week.
"He felt good coming into practice (Monday), which is the best sign because the soreness is what you worry about. We'll see after a pretty good workout how he feels. You can tell he's still kind of favoring (the knee). Not any pain, maybe that's more of a mental thing, but he got in practice and he made some shots. I think that encourages everybody to get him back soon."
Rogers acknowledged there is a mental challenge to coming back from a knee injury, but that so far it hasn't been an issue.
"It was something I was definitely worried about," he said. "But (the knee) feels really strong and it hasn't bothered me at all. Mentally, I don't worry about it. The last couple of days in practice, I haven't even thought about it."
For Rogers, it's been difficult to miss the last six games and he's eager to return.
"It's terrible," he said of being sidelined. "Nobody likes to sit out and watch their teammates battle without them. I've tried to do what I can to support them from the sideline and tell them what I see. But I'm excited to be able to get into the games from now on."
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: BYU junior forward Brandon Davies earned West Coast Conference player of the week honors after averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds in three games, including a career-high 28-point performance in a loss at Saint Mary's.
Davies also recorded the Cougars' first 20-20 game since 1975 with 21 points and 22 rebounds in Saturday's victory over San Diego.
"What is most impressive about Brandon's week is just how active he was possession by possession," Rose said. "He was able to stay out of foul trouble and be on the floor. I think that consistent flow of being on the floor and not coming out with his second foul … will really help his game. Consistency is Brandon's challenge."
COLLINSWORTH UPDATE: Forward Chris Collinsworth is still recovering after undergoing exploratory surgery on his knee in December.
Rose said Collinsworth is improving, but it's not known when he will be able to play again.
"Chris is actually doing better. The swelling in his knee has gone down," he said. "I don't know if he's anywhere close to where he can practice with us. But the first 10 days after surgery were really kind of discouraging for him because his knee swelled, which is natural from surgery, but they couldn't get the swelling out of it. They drained it a couple of times. The knee actually looks a lot better. He's walking on it without crutches and without a lot of pain. He is progressing, but it is quite slow."
Forward Nate Austin missed Tuesday's practice due to the flu.