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Peterson: Good news for ISU's Lard: MRI revealed nothing more than a sprained right ankle

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Thursday’s MRI revealed nothing more than a sprained right ankle for Cam Lard
Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

AMES, Ia. — Iowa State fans — and maybe even supporters of other schools’ athletic programs — pulled for Cam Lard as he went the “wellness center” route while trying to get his life back together. They were silently rooting for the Cyclones’ All-Big 12 post player after he admitted a problem, and then followed it up by making the life-altering decision to do something about it.

Fans might have wondered why he was additionally suspended for the first month of this basketball season, and then why he wasn’t playing more once the suspension was lifted. We’re not allowed behind the closed doors of the locker room, and we’re not invited to view practices, so we accepted coach Steve Prohm’s word that Lard still had some work to do.

That brings me the present and the right ankle he sprained during Tuesday’s 73-70 loss at Baylor …

Tests, including an MRI on Thursday, revealed nothing more serious than the initial prognosis.

It’s not one of those nasty Achilles injuries that could result in missing the remainder of the season.

It’s an ankle sprain, and nothing more.

Well, OK, it’s a nasty ankle sprain. But it certainly beats the alternative.

It’s about time something positive came Lard’s way.

“Everything is good,” Prohm told reporters before practice Thursday. “It’s just going to be day-to-day. It’s pain toleration for him.”

So instead of being sidelined for a while, he might play in Saturday’s 11 a.m. game against Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum. If he doesn’t play on Saturday, Prohm suggested he might be back to play at Big 12 leader Texas Tech on Wednesday.

“Saturday will be a game-time decision, but I wouldn’t see him missing anything more than Saturday,” Prohm said. “I would think that by Texas Tech, that he would be back.”

Even while playing behind Mike Jacobson in the post, No. 21 Iowa State needs all of the good Lard it can get. The Cyclones have gotten it, too, since the holiday break — with four blocked shots and many shot alterations while helping the team to a 2-1 record in league play.

“He’s getting there, (but) I don’t think he’s back full,” Lindell Wigginton said. “His situation comes with time.”

Lard averaged 12.6 points and 1.1 blocked shots while playing an average of 26.4 minutes as a freshman last season. He’s at 2.6 points and 1.9 blocked shots while averaging just 8.9 minutes in eight of 15 games this season.

“He wasn’t playing early, because he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do,” Prohm said. “He was trying to get adjusted.”

He returned to campus in August, just before classes started. He didn’t hold back much during his first session with reporters in September.

“I don’t talk to the dudes I was talking to before,” he told us. “I hold no regrets against them. All the decisions I made were on myself.

“If I face that adversity — I know what to do. I know how to fight the temptation to do something dumb.”

He was a changed guy from the Lard we talked to last season. He changed for the better, everyone who mingled with him said.

“It was good for me,” Lard said last summer of his time at the Chris Herren Center. “I learned a lot from being there for the whole summer. I learned a lot from guys that have been through way worse situations than me.

“I’m glad I got to do it. I learned how to face adversity, and, when things aren’t going my way, how to maintain and stay cool.”

He stayed calm when he wasn’t playing much after his suspension was lifted. Bad on-court body language of a season ago has improved.

He runs the floor with authority and purpose. He intimidates shooters around the rim and he was almost back to a season ago before the ankle sprain.

“Against Oklahoma State, he was a factor,” Prohm said. “Against Kansas, he played 10 minutes and was really good. We missed him a lot against Baylor, there’s not a question about that.”

So for Lard, Thursday’s MRI revealed exactly what he was looking for.

It’s about time he got some positive news.

Iowa State columnist Randy Peterson has been with the Register for parts of five decades. Randy writes opinion and analysis of Iowa State football and basketball. You can reach Randy at rpeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter at @Randy Pete.

Source: Des Moines Register