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Syracuse basketball center Bourama Sidibe looking for a healthy 2018-19 season

After spending much of last season injured, Syracuse’s sophomore center is hoping for a healthy output in 2018-19.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the 2017-18 Syracuse Orange basketball season, intrigue started to build around freshman center Bourama Sidibe. At that time, not much was known of Sidibe in Central New York before he enrolled at Syracuse. He wasn’t on any of the scouting services top-100 lists and highlights were few and far between, but after the first few games in orange the then freshman started to turn some heads.

Sidibe displayed athleticism at the center spot, and showed a precocious understanding of the 2-3 zone. He picked up four blocks in Syracuse’s first two games and by the third game he showed he could play on the other to boot, tallying 11 points against Texas Southern.

Not long thereafter however, it was announced that Sidibe had been dealing with tendinitis in his left knee and just before Syracuse headed into conference play, Jim Boeheim hinted at the possibility of a medical redshirt for Sidibe. That scenario would never come to fruition as Syracuse didn’t have a true backup center and the Orange were already depleted.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Michigan State Spartans vs Syracuse Orange Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Sidibe fought through his tendinitis and finished out the season. Despite the nagging injury, he still sprinkled in some bright moments along the way. He had his best outing of the year on the road against Pittsburgh, posting a double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Was it troublesome to experience that sort of output, wondering what was possible had he been at full strength?

“I mean it’s kind of frustrating,” Sidibe said at media day. “I kind of get used to it because I know everything happens for a reason. I just kept fighting through and I am here now.”

Once the season was over, Sidibe had surgery and began the healing process. He stayed in Syracuse for both summer sessions and continued to rehab his knee. He said he was able to do some skill work and that he also spent a good deal of time with Syracuse athletic trainer Brad Pike, “working out, getting better, trying to make my knee stronger.”

Recovery time from an injury like tendinitis can vary depending on severity. In some cases, a total recovery can take up to six months. While Sidibe has reached that six month threshold, he noted that his left knee is doing well and that he’s moving a lot better than what he was last season, but that the knee still isn’t totally healed.

“It’s doing pretty well,” Sidibe said. “(It’s) not 100 percent yet but it’s doing pretty well.”

While he might not be at full strength, Sidibe was able to play in both the Orange vs. White scrimmage and last night against St. Rose. Although it might not be the ideal situation, Sidibe knows he’s capable of playing through injury.

In a worst-case scenario, Marek Dolezaj is capable of playing spot minutes backing up Paschal Chukwu at center. But for Syracuse’s sake, it would be best to have a fully healthy Sidibe back in the fold. After all, the team has some lofty goals for the 2018-2019 season.

“I mean the team goal is to win everything,” Sidibe said. “my goal is to get better to show that I can play.”