Lorenzo Romar announced at his weekly press conference that 7-foot junior center Aziz N'Diaye only has sprained right knee. An MRI revealed the good news.
"He's very questionable for Friday, but he will be returning," Romar said.
There was some fear that N'Diaye might have torn the ACL in the knee after landing awkwardly following a dunk of Duke's Miles Plumlee. Romar said that replays show N'Diaye dunking and then taking some contact from Plumlee and coming down with all of his weight on the right leg.
"It tweaked a little," Romar said.
N'Diaye is obviously questionable for Friday's game against UC Santa Barbara. But Romar said that N'Diaye would be ready for the Pac-12 conference opener on Dec. 29 against Oregon State at Alaska Airlines Arena.
"The way it sounds, he will probably return before then," Romar said. "Whenever he is ready to go, we bring him back. Whenever he is pain free, I think we should bring him back."
N'Diaye is really Washington's only true inside presence. And while he isn't a dynamic offensive threat, the Huskies depend on his rebounding and his ability to protect the rim on defense.
"He means so much to this team," Romar said. "We have to play an entirely different way without him in the game. Even in the Duke game, defensively there wasn't a whole lot going on in the paint when he was in there. Second half, when he was not in there, those big guys started taking over."