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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie healing up, hoping for healthy senior year

Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie shoots over Baylor’s Freddie Gillespie during the first half of a second-round NCAA Tournament game last March. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie is on the mend from a recent knee surgery that he hopes leads to a healthy senior season.

Tillie had knee surgery Oct. 3 to address lingering issues in his knee that date back to high school in his native France.

“It wasn’t that serious, it wasn’t as serious as last year’s (surgery to repair a stress fracture in his ankle),” Tillie said. “I’ve had problems (with the knee) since I was in high school, but it was pretty good my first three years at Gonzaga. So, it was get it cleaned up and get ready for the rest of my career.”

Tillie is tired of talking about injuries for obvious reasons after missing 22 games last season due to a stress fracture and partially torn plantar fascia. The talented, 6-foot-10 forward doesn’t have a target date but it’s possible he could be back for the regular-season opener against Alabama State on Nov. 5.

“I’m taking my time, trying to heal from it, taking my time with the trainer,” Tillie said. “I couldn’t tell you right now (if he’ll be ready against Alabama State). It’s in two weeks, if I can play, I’ll play.”

Tillie traveled with the team to Denver but sat out Saturday’s closed scrimmage against No. 1 Michigan State, won by the eighth-ranked Zags 103-87. Freshman Anton Watson replaced Tillie in the starting five.

Gonzaga entertains Lewis-Clark State College in an exhibition matchup Nov. 1. The Zags’ first big test will probably be Nov. 15 on the road vs. Texas A&M.