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Forward feels fine after his return.

Byline: Bob Clark The Register-Guard

Tyrone Nared was the first Oregon player to arrive at Matthew Knight Arena for Friday's practice, as good of a sign as any that playing 23 minutes in his first action in almost four weeks wasn't too much.

Nared said after Friday's short workout that his left knee was "a little sore" but certainly not anything that would keep him from playing again Sunday, when the Ducks (11-4, 2-1 in the Pac-12) take on California.

"It's my last year of college ball and I've got aspirations (to continue playing) so I've got to fight through some of this stuff," Nared said. "I'm not going to do anything crazy. If I feel pain, I'll let them know.

"It's my body and I'm going to be smart with it. The main thing is to keep treating it and keep rehabbing it."

The 6-foot-8 Nared suffered what was described as "a small tear" in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a Dec. 12 game against Portland State. He then missed a total of six games, while gradually increasing the amount of drills he did until being cleared Monday for full participation in practices.

In his first game back, Nared contributed five points, five rebounds, a blocked shot and two steals in his 23 minutes as the Ducks defeated Stanford, 78-67.

"I didn't plan on playing him that long but he kept saying he felt good," UO coach Dana Altman said. "He did a lot of good things."

Some of that isn't measured on a sheet of statistics.

Oregon's Tony Woods termed the return of Nared as "big for me because Ty is an energy guy for us. We don't have a lot of rah-rah guys, so when Ty came back he brought energy off the bench."

Nared, who was averaging 19.5 minutes of playing time before his injury, expected that to be about his court time against Stanford, but welcomed more.

"Coach balanced it out pretty well for me, so I felt comfortable," Nared said. "I'm thankful he played me that many minutes.

"It was great to be out there."

Nared is wearing a protective brace on his left leg, and said "to be safe I might leave it on the rest of the year. It's not the most comfortable thing but as long as I can still jump as high as I want to and run the floor like I know I can, I guess I'll leave it on."

Pair of jumpers duel in dunk contest

World high jump champion Jesse Williams will take on former Oregon three-sport letterman Jordan Kent in a dunk contest at halftime of Sunday's game.

The 6-foot Williams won the world championship last summer by clearing 7 feet, 9 1/4 inches. With a two-step leadup, he has reportedly recorded a vertical leap of more than 50 inches.

The 6-5 Kent became Oregon's first three-sport letterman in more than 50 years by competing in track, football and basketball.

Before the game, Williams will sign autographs in the northeast corner of the arena.

Ducks scheduled for four Sundays

The game against California will be the first of four Sunday games for the Ducks against Pac-12 opponents, with two of them against Oregon State, on Jan. 29 and Feb. 26.

On a week such as this when two games are scheduled, it means an extra day between contests.

Oregon players seemed divided on whether they like it that way, or prefer the usual schedule of a game Thursday and the next one on Saturday.

"It doesn't matter, it's how the schedule is," Altman said.

His preference this week would have been to play today and not have the extra day of preparation.

"We played well (on Thursday) and I was anxious to come back and play right away," Altman said. "It's one of those times it wouldn't have hurt my feelings to play right away."

Home remains a big advantage

The home team is now 14-2 in Pac-12 games this season, which perhaps increases the need for the Ducks to avoid a home loss if they want to stay in the conference race.

"It's very important to protect your home court," Oregon's Devoe Joseph said. "You've got nine (home conference) games and you've got to take advantage of every opportunity to have your fans supporting you."

Altman also made note of the home court perhaps mattering more in college basketball than most other sports. The record of home teams in the Pac-12 so far certainly speaks to that.

"I hope it holds up this week and then doesn't next week," Altman said, alluding to Oregon games coming up at Arizona State and Arizona.
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Title Annotation:Basketball Oregon Men; Oregon's Tyrone Nared will play Sunday after continuing to rehab a left knee injury
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 7, 2012
Words:783
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