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Originally published Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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UW star Jon Brockman returns after surgery

It was a mid-July pickup game in front of an audience of about a half-dozen. But for Jon Brockman, Monday's informal scrimmage in the East...

Seattle Times staff reporter

It was a mid-July pickup game in front of an audience of about a half-dozen.

But for Jon Brockman, Monday's informal scrimmage in the East Gym at Edmundson Pavilion had the juices flowing as it if were midseason.

"I'm just excited to get back out there and run up and down," said Brockman, a senior forward for the Washington Huskies who will undoubtedly receive some preseason All-American honors. "I haven't been able to do that for two months."

Even longer, really.

Monday's workout was the first live basketball activity for Brockman since he had surgery on Memorial Day to fix two bone spurs and to remove a bone chip in his left ankle, the result of an injury suffered in double overtime of a loss at Washington State on March 8.

Brockman returned from the injury and scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in 26 minutes in UW's first-round loss to Valparaiso in the College Basketball Invitational.

Though he doesn't think playing in that game made the injury worse, he says now, "I probably shouldn't have been out there. But I knew it could be our last game, so I wanted to play."

After taking a break for a week or so after the season, Brockman's ankle didn't get better when the team began its offseason conditioning program.

"It just didn't really heal," he said. "I never got to the point where I felt like my ankle is better. It finally got to a point where it was just killing me just to jump around."

An MRI revealed two bone spurs rubbing against each other, something that couldn't be fixed without surgery, the first for Brockman on a part of his body other than his nose.

"On the day I had surgery, my ankle was just as swollen as it was the day after the Wazzu game," he said.

The loose bone chip was discovered during the surgery and removed.

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Brockman has spent the past seven weeks rehabbing the injury, finally getting clearance last week to resume playing.

Even now that he's back on the court he's trying to ease his way into his return, saying, "I'm not expecting to do a ton today."

He had a few nice moments in the team's workout but wasn't the dominating factor he figures to be next season.

"He didn't really look like himself," said guard Justin Dentmon. "But he hasn't lost any strength."

But with three months until the team holds its first practice, there's plenty of time to get all the way back. Brockman was simply glad Monday to take a big first step.

"It's been tough because you're up here watching the rest of the team play and all you want to do is be out there," he said. "I'm not a very patient person and I don't like waiting around. The hardest thing has been just telling myself to let it heal completely before trying to come back."

Notes

• The team's four incoming freshmen are on campus, enrolled in the summer bridge program and working out with the team.

However, forward Tyreese Breshers of Los Angeles is not able to participate in scrimmages after being diagnosed with a fractured shin that he played with all last season at Price High School.

Breshers said he was told last week he will not be able to play for two months. That could make a redshirt season possible, though Breshers says that hasn't been discussed.

Artem Wallace, recovering from a knee injury suffered against Valparaiso, remains on the sideline but is recovering well and could be back in mid-November.

• Center Joe Wolfinger is also sitting out practices right now to rest his oft-injured foot, but is expected to be fine for the season.

• Sophomore center Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a native of London, has been named to Great Britain's Under-20 national team. He will leave next week to begin training for the European Championships in August in Romania.

He will then return to England for more workouts with the team as it attempts to select a national team that will represent the country in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He could be gone until late September.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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