By John Helsley
LUBBOCK – Breaking news from Lubbock… via Facebook… via Ray Penn… on Ray Penn.
The freshman point guard apparently will play today, according to the man himself on his Facebook page.
Penn has been doing light work in practices this week and has suffered no setbacks to the “stress reaction” in his knee. At Friday night’s shootaround inside United Spirit Arena, Cowboys coach Travis Ford told us he was leaning toward using Penn some today against Texas Tech.
Now Penn has declared himself ready.
After missing the past four games, Penn is likely to be rusty.
Still, he says he believes he’ll be back to normal soon.
Ford is counting on it.
“We need him to be,” Ford said. “I think it’ll be difficult, but there are eight games left and hopefully more after that. I think he can get back to there. I’m anxious to see it because I think it’s going to be a great test for him and really see how much determination and what he’s made of between the ears a little bit because he has been sitting out.
“When he’s ready to go, I’m throwing him back in there. We need him, we need him badly.”
Ford could prove a tough critic. As a player at Kentucky, he once endured a full season with a broken knee cap, playing on until requiring surgery to remove a chunk of bone once the schedule was complete.
So while Ford knows how difficult and painful Penn’s ailment may be, he also carries his own history of toughness.
Ford said that in no way does he want Penn to jeopardize his health.
But if ready, Ford wants the best out of his point guard.
“I have sympathy, but I don’t have time to make excuses,” Ford said. “I addressed it after the game the other night that people want to make excuses for other people. This is February in the Big 12. You can make excuses in November and December but at this point in time you better play.
“We all better play and step up and coach and be the best that we can at this point in time because nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. It’s the same thing with Ray. I know he’s been hurt and everything, but if he steps on that court ready to play, he better help our team be successful.”