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Sacre ready to test ailing foot

GU senior has been out two months

Robert Sacre doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play basketball for the Gonzaga Bulldogs again this season, but he intends to find out soon.

Sacre, sidelined since mid-December after re-injuring his surgically repaired right foot, has returned to individual drills. If all goes well, he’ll probably try to participate in portions of practice later this week.

“I should find out more later this week,” the 7-foot sophomore center said. “I’m trying not to rush it; I’m taking my time.”

The calendar isn’t giving Sacre much slack. Gonzaga is down to two West Coast Conference games (at Santa Clara and San Diego this week) and a home date against South Carolina Upstate next Tuesday. Gonzaga opens play in the WCC tournament in Las Vegas on March 8.

Sacre currently meets the criteria for a medical redshirt. He has played in less than 30 percent of his team’s games and was sidelined before the completion of the first half of the season. The latter provision is what would prevent Sacre from applying for a medical redshirt if he does play in any of Gonzaga’s remaining games.

“I need to see if I’m really ready and if I look like I’m contributing in practice,” he said. “It’s very difficult. I have to figure it out and know I’m making the right call. I don’t want to come back and not be ready and not be able to help the team.”

Sacre missed the first couple weeks of the regular season recovering from foot surgery to repair an incomplete fracture in early October. He returned for the Old Spice Classic in Orlando and gave the Bulldogs a nice lift off the bench in the next five games. He averaged nearly nine minutes per game and contributed three points and 2.8 rebounds.

Sacre re-injured the foot prior to the Arizona game Dec. 14.

Daye back, Brown sidelined

Sophomore forward Austin Daye, who sprained his left ankle early in the second half of Gonzaga’s win over Pepperdine on Saturday, practiced Monday and said he’ll be ready to go against Santa Clara on Thursday.

He was sporting different shoes than the ones he wore Saturday. He said this pair provides better ankle support and doesn’t have as much give as the shoes he wore against Pepperdine.

“This little flap (on the side) messes me up,” said Daye, pointing at teammate Ira Brown’s shoes. “I’m 100 percent sure that’s what happened. This shoe doesn’t give like that one.”

Daye returned to Saturday’s game about five minutes after limping off the court.

Brown, meanwhile, didn’t practice Monday. His left ankle is sore after a Pepperdine player landed on his heel in the first half.

“I roll my ankles all the time. I just run on them and they’re fine,” Brown said. “I thought I could run back down the court, but it was like, ‘No, get me out.’ ”

Brown is experiencing pain on both sides of his ankle and his Achilles’ tendon is sore, too.

“I’ll be fine,” he said. “I just have to let it heal up.”

Brown hopes to practice Wednesday. He has played in every game this season.

Seeds of motivation

Gonzaga, which remained No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and climbed three spots to No. 17 in ESPN/USA Today’s rankings, has clinched the WCC title outright and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. So what’s the motivation for the last three regular-season games?

“We need to win a game Thursday,” Few said. “We’re still in the process of compiling an NCAA resume. We’d still like to go through league undefeated.”

Most NCAA tournament projections list Gonzaga a sixth seed.

“We need to win out to show the country and the committee we’re a great team and we deserve a pretty good seed,” senior Jeremy Pargo said.

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