The Wolf Pack basketball team enters the season with very few questions, and that's a good thing.
But it does have at least one looming uncertainty fans have been asking about almost daily as the season opener approaches: Will Lindsey Drew redshirt this season?
Drew is one of the nation's better point guards and a three-year starter for the Wolf Pack. But he's also coming off a torn Achilles' tendon and is eligible to sit out the 2018-19 season without losing a year of eligibility as he has a redshirt season available.
Drew didn't take part in the Wolf Pack's pro day last week (he did dribbling drills and that's it), but he is making progress in his rehabilitation from what is likely the worst injury a basketball player can suffer.
The Nevada basketball Twitter account posted video Monday of Drew taking jump shots (before taking it down), so he's making progress. But Drew's still not ready to join practice fully. A decision on whether he will play this season won't come until closer to the season opener.
“I think that Lindsey is taking bigger strides in the last two weeks," Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman said on pro day. "It was moving pretty slow. I did talk to the Warriors just now about DeMarcus Cousins’ timeline and I told them what I’m reading and what I’m reading isn’t really how it is. I got where he is and his (Achilles tear) happened about a month before Lindsey’s. I think Lindsey is in a spot where maybe he can play, maybe not. Same thing I’ve been saying. Until it gets to November, there’s no reason to tell him anything other than, 'Just keep rehabbing hard.’"
Musselman has said since the injury Drew and his family have the final say on whether he plays this season. You could argue either way as the correct path.
Case for a redshirt: Sitting out this season would allow Drew time to get fully healthy. ... Cody Martin is going to be Nevada's starting point guard and minutes could be limited for Drew anyway. ... Drew would have the opportunity to be a showcase player in 2019-20 when the Martin twins, Jordan Caroline and the Treys (Porter and Thurman) are departed. That could boost his pro stock ... Drew could use his redshirt season to build his skill set and strength. ... Drew sitting out this year would strengthen the 2019-20 team without hurting the 2018-19 team very much given its depth.
Case for playing this year: Nevada has Final Four aspirations in 2018-19; Drew wouldn't want to miss being an active member of that. ... Drew's unselfish style of play would be perfect on this team, which is loaded with scoring talent. ... Drew's on-ball defense would be a big plus for this offensive-oriented team. ... Drew might not want to sit out a season (redshirt years aren't very fun). ... Like we said, Nevada could go to the Final Four this year. Who would want to miss that?
Musselman doesn't see a bad outcome no matter what Drew chooses.
"It’s a win-win," Musselman said. "If he comes back, it’s awesome because he’s one of the best point guards in the country. If he doesn’t come back, we need some really good players next year who can play 35-40 minutes next year and he can do that. I look at it and whatever he and his family decide is good for us.”
Drew averaged 8.1 points, 4.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game last season while shooting 48.4 percent from the field, including 39 percent from three. He was playing the best basketball of his career prior to the injury, which occurred Feb. 13 at Boise State as he attempted a three-quarter-court shot to beat the halftime buzzer (see below). Achilles tears usually take nine to 12 months to recover from.