Missouri Basketball returned to the practice gym on Wednesday and the Tigers are now just one week away from an exciting 10-day, five-game tour of Europe (Holland, Belgium and France). The team practiced for nearly two hours and the biggest news came courtesy of senior forward Laurence Bowers who saw his first full-contact action of the summer.
Bowers of course missed the entire 2011-12 season and has rehabbed with trainer Pat Beckmann and strength coach Todor Pandov throughout the last 10 months leading up to today's return.
"It's a great feeling," Bowers said. "I have been feeling good and the entire staff was great during my rehab, so it was just a matter of time until I was back out there again. I still have some things I want to accomplish, but it was great to get out there and work with the guys."
Bowers has gone through some team drills already, but has often done conditioning during "contact" portions of the practice.
It remains unlikely that he will see playing time in Europe, and the senior is focused on being as close to 100 percent as possible for the start of practice in October.
"Of course I want to play, I'm a competitor, but my focus is on the season ahead," Bowers said. "I am more concerned about being ready to help my team when the regular season starts.
"But I'm not going to lie," Bowers said with a smile. "A big part of me wishes I could get out on that court and compete with my teammates next week."
Missouri practiced today with the FIBA basketball. The ball is similar in size to the ball used in the college game, but was definitely slicker than the practice balls the team has used all summer in practice and individual workouts.
Mizzou will continue to use the FIBA ball until the end of the European trip.
Norm Stewart Court is undergoing a summer facelift for the move to the SEC. Crews came in this week and sanded the floor and began putting down artwork today. The floor should be completed by the time the Tigers return in mid-August and should be available for use by the end of the month.
Back to Practice:
Missouri will work out two more times this week. The Tigers are in action Thursday afternoon and Friday afternoon. The team is off on Saturday, but will lift weights and practice on Sunday. The team will also practice on Monday and Tuesday before departing late Wednesday morning.