They have sat and waited.
And they will have to wait a little while longer.
Sophomore wings Jake Kretzer and Reggie McAdams participated in practice drills with their University of Akron teammates Friday at Rhodes Arena. They didn’t get any scrimmage time.
That is good news for the Zips. It’s the first time that either has participated in practice in any form since their respective situations came to light. They only did the noncontact stuff, but progress is progress.
It might have been a better sign that McAdams was able to wolf down a couple of slices of pizza after practice. He has suffered from mononucleosis for 3½ weeks.
He has endured the illness’ symptoms, including a lack of energy, and he has lost 8 pounds in the process. The Zips’ staff diagnosed the disease after it had already staked a claim to his body. Now after undergoing an MRI at 7 a.m. Friday on his spleen, he waits to be cleared for game play.
An enlarged spleen, one of the symptoms of mono, would prevent him from playing because it would be dangerous for him to take hits.
“I had it at Western Michigan [Feb. 12] and played with it,” McAdams said.
The Zips’ three-game losing streak has had one effect.
“It makes me hungry to get back. I definitely can’t wait to get back as fast as I can,” McAdams said. “The day I was cleared, I kind of rushed it myself and worked out on my own without them telling me I could.”
Kretzer is having that itch, too. He has been out since the Zips’ loss to the Buffalo Bulls (Feb. 19), and he’s still dealing with the lingering effects of a concussion.
Kretzer said he has begun his recent days bursting with energy only to end with dizziness and faintness.
“I’m just taking it day by day. I’ve had quite a few concussions — four or five or six,” he said, “so we’re taking our time with this one.”
He laughs at the irony that he has played football all of his life. The number of concussions suffered from that sport — zero. He said that sitting on the bench and not traveling with the team has been hard on him.
It also has been hard on the team’s record and potential seeding in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
“It’s hard to win without those guys. You can tolerate it short term, but it’s hard to tolerate it long term,” coach Keith Dambrot said.
UA will have to try to do it in one more game, as both hope to be back for the rematch Tuesday with the Bulls.
In the meantime, UA faces Bowling Green at home Saturday night. The Zips are two games behind Ohio in the East Division, standing in fifth place for tournament seeding.
Despite that, Kretzer remains confident in the team’s prospects.
“We’re going to be all right,” he said. “I think we’re going to be able to make a strong run here at the end of the season especially in the MAC Tournament. I’m not worried about it.”
Forward Nick Harney returned to action Wednesday after being suspended for four games. He hit 2-of-8 from the floor in the Zips’ loss to the Miami RedHawks.
Dambrot said Harney wasn’t in good shape, and his rust was evident. If the Zips are to close the gap in the East, they will need Kretzer, McAdams and Harney to be in top form.
Harney declined to comment.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.