Senior Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski told Jim Meehan with the Spokesman Review that his recovery from back surgery is “ahead of schedule” and is looking on the better side to be ready by the time the season starts.
This obviously, is the best sort of news that we can hear. There have been rumblings that the recovery from Karno was going pretty well, but the road for him to get into playing shape is a long time. Karnowski had season ending back surgery on Dec. 31, 2015.
Karnowski told Meehan that he has been cleared to play basketball, but still hasn’t played in a 5-on-5 situation, although most of the Gonzaga players have not returned to campus yet because school doesn’t start for another week.
There is still a lot of work to be done on Karnowski’s end. Back surgeries are no joke, and just hearing that he is healthy is priority number one. Priority number two will be to get into the rigors of surviving the college basketball season, which, if you are the starting center for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, means you take a healthy bruising each time you take the court.
In a season that will open up with quite a few question marks, the health of Karnowski is one of the more important to answer. The Zags have size in incoming freshman Zach Collins and Ryan Edwards to help anchor the post, but Collins is a true freshman and Edwards hasn’t quite demonstrated yet he can play for long stretches at a time. Presumably, Johnathan Williams III will be starting at power forward, and although good, he is a bit undersized.
A healthy Karnowski renders all of these concerns absolutely moot. He is one of the best rim defenders in the nation and is ruthlessly efficient down low. He has never been one to stuff the stat box, but Karnowski won’t have to with the amount of scoring potential on the Zags next year.