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AMES — There are a number of good reasons Iowa State big man Jameel McKay won’t sit out Saturday’s game at No. 5 Texas A&M.
Take this one …
“I don’t know if any of my teammates would let me live,” McKay joked three days after he hinted that left knee irritation may cause him to miss the hyped Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup. “No, seriously, I didn’t really (think) about sitting out, especially with the way we’re rolling right now. My teammates would kill me and it’s all about them, too.”
Doctors looked more closely at McKay’s knee yesterday and found no structural issues. The No. 14 Cyclones’ best rebounder and shot blocker reiterated that it’s simply “irritation,” with some inflammation, that’s bothering him, but occasionally it’s bad enough that he feels like his leg is giving out.
“I’ve just got to go out there and not think about it,” said McKay, who sat out the last 10 minutes of Monday’s win over No. 4 Kansas because of knee discomfort. “Hopefully it gets warmed up. I didn’t really feel it last game until like right after halftime. In the second half I made a move and it was so frustrating because the leg gave out on me and I think I could have converted on the move if it didn’t give out on me.”
McKay said his postgame comments Monday, as well as numerous puzzling posts to social media, were taken too seriously.
“Sometimes I think people look too much into it,” he said.
But he’s good now, he said. He also noted that he’ll work to strengthen some secondary muscles around the knee while continuing to receive treatment.
“I’m not going to go through any contact today, like anything fast speed,” McKay said. “I’ll probably just shoot a little bit, but it’s getting better. It’s going to be something that lingers for like the next week or two, but it’s been bothering me for like two weeks.”
McKay’s presence will be key when tangling with the Aggies (17-3), who feature freshman phenom Tyler Davis in the post. Davis, who stands 6-10, averages 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. McKay, at 6-9, averages 12.9 points, 9.1 boards and 1.7 blocks per game.
“(We’ll) be there for support,” ISU forward Georges Niang said of McKay. “Jameel’s a huge part of this puzzle for sure. We need him to be successful and he knows that.”
McKay also knows — if only jokingly — that his teammates would take a dim view on him missing this game. So would Seanna Johnson, the ISU women’s team’s do-everything star, who played on a banged-up knee last night.
“So what would I look like sitting out?” McKay said, smiling. “No, I’m just playing, but yeah, all that plays a key factor.”