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Bourama Sidibe returns in Syracuse’s loss to Clemson

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Senior center Bourama Sidibe returned to game action for the first time since tearing his meniscus.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson Andersen Independent Mail-USA TODAY NETWORK

After missing most of his senior season due to a torn left meniscus, Bourama Sidibe saw the court for the first time on Saturday since Syracuse’s season-opener. Sidibe came off the bench in Syracuse’s 78-61 loss at Clemson to play 11 minutes.

Sidibe scored one point, registered a block but committed four fouls. He had a few bright moments defensively, but it’d be like playing Pollyanna to suggest it wasn’t an obvious adjustment for the big man after missing extended time.

“It was good to get him back out there,” Jim Boeheim said of Sidibe. “Obviously he hasn’t played in 11 weeks. He’s not really ready to play yet. He’s had barely, maybe two practices where he went part of the time. Hopefully his knee will react well to playing and he’ll be able to continue.”

Sidibe tore his meniscus early against Bryant and missed the remainder of that game. He had surgery on Dec. 1 and was expected to miss four weeks. He warmed up extensively against N.C. State last Sunday but still favored his left knee. He didn’t get much lift when jumping, nor did he look comfortable bending his knee when shooting. Still, he went through layup lines and stayed on in warmups all the way up until tip.

Following that game, Boeheim said he was hopeful for Sidibe’s return for the next game. He returned against Clemson.

“He’s tried everything he could and his knee’s sore. It’s hard to play this game when you can’t run and jump. I mean that’s his game. His game is his athletic ability, movement, running, jumping. He’s not a shooter. He gives us that. He’s doing everything he can to do but he hasn’t done anything in 12 weeks,” Boeheim said.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Clemson Andersen Independent Mail-USA TODAY NETWORK

Following the loss to Clemson, Boeheim said rebounding has been a problem for Syracuse this year and that it’s going to continue to be a problem. The Orange are 1-6 when getting out-rebounded. Boeheim thinks Dolezaj is trying his best to defend in the middle — his efforts have been praised by Boeheim — but he’s just not big enough to compete in there defensively.

Sidibe’s return was thought to be a partial remedy at center, but his head coach suggested he still might be a long way off.

“He’s moving. He’s trying. He’s trying to be in the right positions. But he was right there he just couldn’t jump to get the ball. I’m not sure he’s going to be able to do much. It’s been a long time. We’ve got two, three weeks to go. It’s going to be hard for him to get back in there,” Boeheim finished.

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