Buddy Hield is a self-proclaimed fast healer.
But also, a stubborn one.
Oklahoma’s freshman guard, who three weeks ago to the day broke his fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot, was practicing in contact drills.
If it were up to him, he said he would have been out there sooner, but that’s why teams have athletic trainers and team doctors.
“Yeah, I’m very impatient,” Hield said. “Trust me. Me and (Oklahoma athletics trainer Alex Brown) got at it every day. He’d be like, ‘No, you can’t do this.’ AB’s my boy, though. I listen to him and listen to what the doctors say.”
Each week Hield has shown some progression. Last Friday was the first time he actually got to participate in practice, but it was just while the team was running through plays with nobody was guarding them.
On Monday, Hield defended, pointed to open spots and even scored some baskets.
“It was like all the players were excited about it the first time he shot it in a live situation,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said after practice.
Hield smiled when asked about the response he got from his teammate on his first made basket during live play in weeks.
“Just glad. That’s a good moment for me right there,” Hield said. ”I just wanted to get it in and move onto the next play.”
Hield said the only part of his foot that was sore after practice is where his stitches from surgery used to be. Besides that, he said he was ready to go whenever he got cleared. Kruger is unclear if he will be ready for the West Virginia game on Wednesday.
“Buddy won’t play unless the doctors say he’s full to go,” the second-year OU coach said. “It’s not a matter of risking anything. If he plays, it means the doctors said he’s 100 percent. We’re not going to play him at 80; we’re not going to play him at 90.”
But playing him at practice brought huge smiles to his teammates’ faces, especially senior forward Romero Osby.
“I was one of the guys that cried when it happened to him,” Osby said. “It was great to have him out here, man. That’s all I can say. It was great.”
In his first interview after surgery, Hield said he would be back quicker than the four to six weeks that had originally been slotted for his recovery. He wanted to make sure he was able to dance if the team went dancing.
He said Monday that he has always been a quick healer. Osby, though, was surprised by Hield’s speedy recovery.
“He’s a freak of nature,” Osby said smiling and half laughing. “If you see him run the mile, he can run the mile in like 4 minutes and 50 seconds. I haven’t seen anybody do that since I’ve been in college.
“He’s a freak of nature. He runs and talks all day. He’s one of those kids that he’s just special. To see him bounce back from that injury as fast as he did, to me, that was an injury in disguise but at the same time it was like, ‘Oh he bounced back quick’ so it shows how tough he is too.”
Hield is just happy the day he has been working toward for three weeks — where he’s back on the court — came finally.
“Felt great to get it off my chest,” he said. “My teammates were very happy. It was a blessing to be back on the court and to take my time and not overdo it.”