Freshman Harvey Perry is recovering nicely after injuring his lower back prior to preseason. Perry's back trouble began before he joined the Huskies. His injury, which had originally been diagnosed as a bulging disc, has been changed by team doctors to a stress fracture. Neither Perry nor his doctors know exactly how he got hurt, but Perry is just happy to begin working his way back onto the court.
"I'm progressing faster than expected," said Perry, who will begin light weightlifting this week. "I was supposed to sit out for 12 weeks but I was only out eight weeks before starting my rehab. I'm not really having any pain at all and I'm able to be a lot more active and move a little bit more."
After breezing through its first 11 games, Washington is starting to feel the loss of Perry, particularly since Husky coach Lorenzo Romar is competing without a reliable backup point guard. Freshman Justin Dentmon is Washington's current starting point guard. Many observes thought that University of Florida transfer Ryan Appleby would share the role with Dentmon but Appleby has struggled on both ends of the floor and is being used by Romar primarily as a three-point shooter.
"I will certainly be able to contribute offensively but defense will be a large part of my comeback as far as not allowing these guys to get their career-highs on us anymore," said Perry. "We are lacking a lot in team defense right now."
Washington has surrendered career performances to many of its opponents this season and has already lost two of its first three games against conference completion. Gonzaga's Adam Morrison scored 43 points in a 99-95 loss to the Huskies in December. Arizona's Hassan Adams dropped a career-high 32 points on Washington en route to a 96-95 double-overtime victory over the Huskies on New Year's Eve and Washington State's Josh Akognon recorded a career-high 27 points as the Cougars stunned No.10 Washington, defeating the Huskies 78-71 at Bank of America Arena earlier this month.
Perry's return, however, is not a certainty. Perry has already missed 14 games thus far for the Huskies and could opt to redshirt the remaining season and save his four years of eligibility for when he is healthy. "It's still a tossup," said Perry. "But the way I feel now and the way the team is playing, I definitely feel I can come in and make an impact."
If Perry does redshirt, the extra time off could not only give Perry the opportunity to strengthen his game, but it would also likely allow Perry to share the backcourt with Patterson Prep School guard and best friend Roburt Sallie. Sallie, who plans to join Washington next fall, must first get a qualifying test score to gain admission into to the university. Sallie is scheduled to take the ACT at the end of January and cannot officially sign a letter of intent to join the Huskies until his test scores are released in mid February.
"We've spoken a little bit about what it is going to be like when both me and (Sallie) get on the court next year," said Perry. "It's going to be interesting because both of can play two or three positions and we're both athletic and we both do things on the court to make our teams better."