The right knee injury of Belleville junior standout and University of Illinois recruit Javon Pickett was diagnosed as a bone contusion Monday and he expects to return to the lineup Friday against O’Fallon.
Pickett, the area’s leading scorer with a 23.5-point average, sat out two games last week and was on crutches after injuring his knee during the fourth quarter of a Jan. 29 loss to East St. Louis.
Pickett underwent an MRI exam on Friday, then visited his doctor Monday for the results and got better than expected news.
“They said it could have been a lot worse,” said Pickett, who also averages 6.9 rebounds with 52 assists and 45 steals. “I was real excited, I need to hurry and get back.”
It was hard just to be sitting over there watching the games and not being able to play. I’m so glad that I’m good now.
Belleville East junior Javon Pickett
Pickett, who ranks fourth among all St. Louis area scorers, committed to Illinois last month. Former Belleville East all-state guard Malcolm Hill, a 6-6 junior at Illinois, leads the Fighting Illini in scoring at 18.9 points per game. Hill also averages 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the Illini (11-13 overall, 3-8 in the Big Ten Conference.
Pickett said the plan is to be cautious with the knee this week, working his way back slowly and continuing to get ice and rehab treatment.
“(The doctor) just told me to take it easy today and tomorrow and throughout the whole week of practice,” said Pickett, who was happy the injury wasn’t any more serious. “That was a big thing, I didn’t want to have to go through any type of surgery. We had lost our two games (last week) and that’s all I was thinking about was how long I was going to be out, stuff like that
“It was hard just to be sitting over there watching the games and not being able to play. I’m so glad that I’m good now.”
Pickett said there’s still some pain, but he is feeling much better.
The injury occurred when he tried to stop himself during a fall late in the East St. Louis game.
“I tried to start walking and there was a little pain,” he said. “I still went in for the last five seconds. Later on that night it just got worse and locked up on me. When I woke up I just couldn’t walk on it or bend it, it was locked at a certain position.
“When I landed, my knee just buckled out and that’s all that really happen. I tried to land and that’s what made it worse.”