LINCOLN — Chronic knee pain from a partially torn patella tendon ended walk-on Mike Peltz’s first Nebraska basketball season after 14 games.
Whether the senior from Alliance, Neb., gets to play again this season depends on his slow-but-steady recovery from surgery Jan. 31.
Peltz didn’t start working on his game again until about six weeks ago. He still hasn’t played in a pick-up game.
“About a week ago, I was actually able to jump off my left foot for the first time in a year,” he said. “I don’t know if a lot of people even realized last year I couldn’t shoot a right-handed layup.
“It feels a lot better now than it did all last year. I hope I’m ready for the start of the season. That’s the plan.”
Husker coach Tim Miles has discussed a possible redshirt season with Peltz, which the 6-foot-2 guard would like to avoid.
“I told him I want to play this year if at all possible,” he said. “Within the next month, we’ll probably have a decision. I would love to play this year — new arena, new buzz ... it’s big-time.”
Peltz quickly became a fan favorite last season with his shock of hair flying while he scrapped for rebounds and dove for loose balls. But he did it through pain from knee damage that has bothered him the past few years.
“Every motion last year, I just felt a step behind,” he said. “That made it very difficult to play. And confidence-wise, it was hard. But it was a great experience.”
For now, Peltz will have to wait and see if his knee will tolerate a workload like the 15 minutes a game he saw last season.
“I dunked off two feet with two hands last week, so we’re making progress,” he said, smiling. “I’m living my dream to play Division I basketball. But last year, just the basic moves left and right were very hard.”