Provo • Six weeks ago, BYU forward Chris Collinsworth had serious doubts about whether he would be able to step on the basketball court when the Cougars started practicing full-tilt for the 2011-12 season. The 6-foot-9 Collinsworth's recovery from microfracture knee surgery was going much more slowly than the only sophomore on BYU's roster anticipated.
"Then one day, all of a sudden I started feeling better and improving really quickly," Collinsworth said Tuesday after the Cougars' fourth practice. "It was amazing, really. Six weeks ago, I couldn't really do anything on the floor. So there's been some rapid improvement."
So much improvement that Collinsworth, who went on the summer trip to Greece with the team but wasn't able to play in any games, is on track to possibly start when the Cougars open the season next month at Utah State.
"He gets better every day," said coach Dave Rose. "I know that he still is waiting to get back to the old Chris, as far as physically and how he feels. But mentally he is really fighting through the fact that he's not 100 percent really well. … He has a real impact in our practices, and he's not 100 percent. So we are looking forward to next week to see how far he's progressed. If he continues to progress as much as he has the last six weeks, then he is going to be right on top."
Collinsworth said he's not in any pain, but his strength, optimal conditioning level and jumping ability haven't totally returned. He weighed around 218 pounds when he had the surgery, and was up to 250 before he started working out again. Now he's around 240 and wants to get to about 235.
"I am feeling good weight-wise," he said. "As long as I keep eating right, sleeping right, my weight will be fine."
Narrow it down
Seventeen players are currently on the Cougars' roster 13 scholarship players and four walk-ons but coach Dave Rose said only 13 will make the traveling squad. The walk-ons are Utah transfer Craig Cusick (Orem High), guard Austin Nelson (Henderson, Nev.), guard Jaren Sweeney (Mesa, Ariz.) and forward Michael Boswell (Aloha, Ore.).
Rose said it is way too early to determine if any players will redshirt this season. "We haven't come close to thinking about that," he said.
Jimmer Fredette practiced with the Cougars on Tuesday afternoon, and even ran wind sprints with the team when the practice concluded. … Brandon Davies is No. 78 on the list of top 100 players for the 2011-12 college basketball season as compiled by CBSsports.com.