Gonzaga was back at full strength – or close to it – for its season-opening victory over Texas Southern on Friday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Junior forward Jeremy Jones and freshman guard Jesse Wade, both sidelined in last week’s exhibition victory over College of Idaho, returned against the Tigers.
Jones, who is dealing with a right wrist/forearm injury, entered the game about midway through the first half and immediately scored on a drive down the right-side of the lane. He also had a pair of assists as Gonzaga took a 52-31 halftime lead before going on to defeat Texas Southern 97-69.
Jones wore protective padding on his right wrist and forearm.
“I feel like I’ve been waiting for two years,” said Jones, who saw limited playing time last year and redshirted in 2016 after transferring from Rice. “I’m not all the way (healthy), but I can play. I’m just glad I can get out on floor.”
Jones absorbed a hit to his forearm at practice a few weeks ago. He practiced the next two days, but by the third he couldn’t catch or shoot because of swelling in the area.
He returned to practice on Thursday.
“I started running around, taped up and padded up and I went over to the trainer and said, ‘I think I can go,’ ” Jones said.
Jones finished with four points and four rebounds in nine minutes.
Wade, battling a shoulder injury, made his Zags debut. He played three minutes in the second half.
“It was amazing to step on the court,” Wade said. “It’s been a life-long dream to play here.”
Wade said he continues to rehab his shoulder, but “it’s feeling a lot better than it was. It comes out every once in a while.”
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