PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. — Chris Collinsworth drained a 3-point shot during Wednesday warmups and smiled as he accepted a hand slap from a teammate.
If only he could play, and those shots could count.
After missing the Chicago trip last weekend altogether, the valuable forward — if he could get, and stay, healthy — participated in the Cougars' morning shoot-around and looked decent running through the layup line about a half hour before tipoff before the Cougars faced Northern Arizona.
Still ailing with what head coach Dave Rose said is a bruise within his surgically repaired knee, Collinsworth is still day-to-day for the Oregon game on Saturday as well.
Not that BYU needed him on this night, winning 87-52. Brandon Davies (14 points, nine rebounds) looked sharp, and didn't even commit his first foul until the second half. Nate Austin (career-best 11 points) was bursting with confidence, even drilling a 3-pointer from the left elbow.
Things were so good all over the floor, standout scorer Noah Hartsock could post 11 points and never have his team sweat it.
But Collinsworth's status is a continued frustration for him, and the team.
"It's unfortunate," Davies said.
Added Brock Zylstra: "I'm sure it's even tougher for him."
Rose said that these days Collinsworth, who had micro-fracture surgery midway through last year and endured several months of rehabilitation, practices to pain — or to the point that he can at least tolerate it.
The coach is comfortable that doctors have a firm grasp on the soreness Collinsworth is feeling.
"It's a matter of getting Chris really comfortable," he said. "He just has to fight through and get that thing feeling right."
His absence, however, means opportunity.
Returned missionary Nate Austin sizzled in the last seven minutes, even scoring the Cougars' last seven points on a 3-pointer, a long jumper and an inside basket.
"What he needs is time on the floor, where he can feel comfortable. Nate's a big presence, he's got a lot of confidence. He's actually really comfortable facing the basket, scoring the ball," Rose said.
Added Austin: "Coming off my mission, I think I lacked confidence a little bit. But I'm gaining it back from practice and being around the guys."
∫Tip-ins: Freshman point guard Anson Winder started his third consecutive game. He had a career-high nine assists along with three points, three steals and two blocked shots. ...BYU closed the first half scoring the last 10 points to lead 44-21. ...The Cougars will play their fourth consecutive neutral-court game against Oregon at EnergySolutions Arena (Salt Lake City) on Saturday afternoon.