Coach Mark Turgeon recalled a conversation with Seth Allen, the sophomore point guard who made his season debut last week after his broken left foot healed. Before practice Friday afternoon, Turgeon asked Allen about his status.
“Are you supposed to be out here,” Turgeon said.
“Yeah,” Allen replied. He hadn’t practiced Thursday, his second straight day off, as a preventative measure to avoid soreness. Seventeen ACC games lie ahead within the next two months, and the Maryland basketball team needed Allen as fresh as possible.
“Does your foot hurt?” Turgeon asked.
“No,” Allen said.
The eight-week recovery timetable following surgery was dictated by doctors, but once they cleared Allen to play in games, the burden of monitoring fell onto him. Turgeon has made a concentrated effort to preserve Allen during practice, lest he get burned out too quickly and tire during games, but only he can appropriately judge the aches shooting through his foot as the tendons and muscles get back into peak shape, and whether those are enough to keep him out.
“The pain is how much you can take,” Turgeon told reporters. “He’s got to set that for us.”
Allen is still rigorously rehabilitating his foot, even though the cracked bone has healed. He does extra running on treadmills, extra cutting in the basketball performance center and extra lifting to strengthen the muscle.
“I was off it for eight weeks,” Allen said, “so I have to get my whole left leg back.”
Against Tulsa in his debut, he scored 15 points in 21 minutes. Versus North Carolina Central two days later, he scored six points in 20 minutes. Turgeon predicted Allen would play somewhere around 15 minutes Saturday against Georgia Tech, but what if the ACC home opener gets close and the Terps need their future starting point guard on the floor?
Time away, Allen said, changed his perspective and by virtue of sitting on the bench made him a better point guard. He’s shooting 50 percent on three-pointers through two games, a small sample size but a good sign given his 31.2 percent mark last season. Yet there are still physical things he can’t quite do, like soar over opponents at the rim or make quick lateral cuts on the defense.
Turgeon estimated Allen was at “75 percent overall, 85 on offense and about 65 on defense.” Allen didn’t want to put a number on it.
“When the time comes I’ll know, but I also remember what it feels like,” he said. “I’ll know when I’m back 100, when I do certain movements and stuff I can do. I’ll know for the most part when I’m 100.”