Pitt is about two weeks into its preparations for the 2020-21 basketball season with just over three weeks to go until the campaign tips off, and the team has seen Femi Odukale make rapid progress in his recovery from a broken arm. In fact, on Monday, Craig Meyer of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Odukale had advanced to the point in his recovery that he can take part in contact drills in practice.
The news signifies a major leap forward for Odukale in his recovery, as he was only able to participate in non-contact drills two weeks ago, when preseason practices began. And before that, his injury had been characterized as severe and was expected to keep him away from the court for an indefinite period.
Odukale suffered the injury to his arm in August, when the 6’5”, 190-pound point guard was operating a moped and collided with an oncoming vehicle. He suffered multiple non-life-threatening injuries and underwent surgery on his broken arm shortly after the traffic accident occurred. At the time, no specific ETA for his return to the court was provided, but it was expected that he would be back at some point during the upcoming season.
While a precise or approximate date for Odukale’s return has still yet to be provided, the fact that team doctors have cleared him for contact suggests a relatively swift return to action could be in the offing. That would greatly benefit Pitt, as the team lost backcourt contributors Trey McGowens and Ryan Murphy and is uncertain to have the services of Miami (Ohio) transfer Nike Sibande. Given all that, losing Odukale for an extended period would seriously deplete the team’s backcourt depth.
What Jeff Capel and the Panthers coaching staff will get out of Odukale remains to be seen, as he has yet to make his debut at Pitt. But last season at Springfield Commonwealth Academy in Massachusetts, he averaged 17.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game, and the Pitt fanbase and coaching staff are undoubtedly anxious to see what the three-star prospect can bring to the table.