NORMAN — His right foot was wrapped, but Buddy Hield's voice was still there.
“Let's go Red. C'mon White.”
“Nice shot, Steve. Great pass, Cam.”
Hield's bandaged foot extended in front of him on a chair as he bit into a sandwich on Tuesday. Not even 24 hours had passed since Hield fractured the fifth metatarsal — the outer bone — in his foot, leaving him out of the Sooners' lineup for the next four to six weeks. He was still groggy from the medicine from Tuesday morning's surgery, but the freshman was at practice.
It's where he wanted to be.
The Oklahoma guard has brought an energy that is unmatched by any of OU's players. Hield's injury pained his teammates. But the freshman realized that although he can't make shots on the court, he can still impact the team with his energy on the sidelines.
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said film showed that Hield and a TCU defender ended up running toward each other, and Hield stepped on the Horned Frog's foot. The way he stepped, though, was odd and caused the injury.
After the game, Hield was devastated, and so were his teammates, but they quickly realized they would need to find a way to increase their energy.
So they're looking inside themselves to find it.
“We can't replace what Buddy does, but each one of us can give what Buddy does,” senior Sam Grooms said. “That will pick up our team.”
The news of Hield's injury spread quickly. His Sunrise Christian Academy basketball coach, Kyle Lindsted, was at his own practice in Wichita, Kan., when Hield's injury happened. One of the assistant coaches had occasionally been checking the score of the game from his phone and told Lindsted the news.
Lindsted knew he had to tell the Sunrise team.
“There were guys crying,” Lindsted said. “They're family. We have some international kids, and they live in the same house, so they're like brothers. They know Buddy's heart and how bad he wants it. There's not a guy in our group that wouldn't take a broken foot for him.”
Monday night, after Kruger and assistant coach Chris Crutchfield talked with Hield's mother, Jackie, and told her the news, Lindsted said he called her.
“I just would feel better if you were there with him and he sees you,” she told Lindsted.
So Lindsted took the day off from work and left early Tuesday morning with his wife and his two youngest children to see Hield.
They got to town before Hield's surgery and said he was in much better spirits than the night before.
“(Monday) night it was rough. When his teammates came in to him, he was breaking down. That's what they told me,” Lindsted said. “This morning, before surgery he had a good attitude. He said, ‘The Lord has a plan. I don't like it. I don't understand it.' But this is juts one more chance to show that he's tough enough. It's a testimony that he has a good attitude.”
Just hours after surgery, the Lindsteds sat next to Hield as they watched practice. Hield was smiling and laughing with his teammates, giving high-fives and hugs, and even passing a few of his potato chips to his teammates.
As Kruger huddled up the team near the end of practice, Hield joined them. Managers and players moved aside to give the freshman room.
Then before they left, they bowed their heads, and Hield's voice softly filled the gym as he led his team in prayer.