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Jeff Kolpack, Published July 26 2013

NDSU gets good and bad news with point guards

FARGO – North Dakota State men’s basketball is getting a good vibe with the injury status of starting point guard Lawrence Alexander. As for top backup Joel Lindberg: not so much.

It’s to the point for the sophomore Lindberg that concern is growing if he’ll ever play again. This season is questionable with his recovery from patellar tendon problem in his knee.

“It’s very frustrating for him, for me and for the doctors,” said Bison head coach Saul Phillips. “We’re all kind of baffled. The doctors don’t know why it’s reacting the way it’s reacting.”

Lindberg missed all of last season and hasn’t played a game in almost a year and a half. The injury did not happen in one particular instance. The original diagnosis last November was he would be out about three weeks, but that optimism was shelved when he underwent surgery about a month later.

It’s still a problem.

“The question is: Why is he not getting his strength back like he should?” said Scott Woken, NDSU’s director of medicine. “It’s taking longer than what we would expect.”

The opposite is trending with Alexander, especially considering the original fear of a torn Achilles heel in late May. Woken said the injury is more to the calf muscle where it attaches to the Achilles.

Alexander is no longer in a walking boot and was jogging this week. It appears he’ll be cleared to return in early September.

“I kind of feel like we dodged a bullet, so I’m in no mood to see how much we’ll get out of him in September,” Phillips said. “We’re going to keep him separate from the rest of the group for a while and make sure he’s all set to go.”

Lindberg’s cloudy status will most likely erase any redshirt status for incoming freshman guard Carlin Dupree. The 6-foot-3 Dupree stood out in a Wisconsin all-star game and has been impressive with his off-season workouts at the Bison Sports Arena.

At least that’s what Phillips is hearing – he can’t watch him play in the summer because of NCAA rules.

“He’s super athletic,” Phillips said. “Obviously there will be some cleaning up of turnovers and things like that but the backup point guard is a terrific spot to learn. We’d love to have Joel back but we just can’t plan on that right now.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia