Nevada could be without starting power forward Zane Meeks in this week's series with Wyoming, which begins Friday, the first of two games in Laramie, Wyo.
Meeks, who was ejected from Nevada's first game against Fresno State last week for a flagrant two elbow, also sat out the second half due to lingered knee soreness. Wolf Pack coach Steve Alford said Meeks' status will be a game-time decision. The sophomore power forward ranks third on the team in scoring at 9.1 points per game and first in rebounding at 5.9 per contest.
"It's day-to-day with Zane," Alford said during his Monday press conference. "He's got pretty sore knees. He's probably more day-to-day. Nothing will be decided until game day with him."
Alford said the same of Daniel Foster, a freshman guard who hasn't played this season due to a shoulder injury. Foster practiced with the team last week and could make his Wolf Pack debut against Wyoming.
"We hope we get Daniel back," Alford said. "He practiced all week last week and things went well. We've got three days of practice here to see how Daniel does."
Foster would add depth to Nevada's backcourt as a potential backup point guard, although the 6-foot-6 Australian native can play both guards positions and small forward. Alford seemed to indicate Foster is more likely to play this week than Meeks, although both could appear for Nevada.
"We're hopeful and optimistic that at the very least we can get Daniel back and get him some minutes," Alford said. "He hasn't played all year, so we don't know with conditioning exactly what he'll be able to do. But this is somebody who can guard almost every position on the court. Very tough minded. Offensively, he helps us with how tough he is, how he handles the ball and how he directs and sees things. He's got a really big IQ. That would help our backcourt as well. We're just waiting to see at the end of the week what it looks like after practicing."
Dealing with Wyoming's altitude
Potentially being down two players would not be ideal while playing at Wyoming, which at 7,220 feet of elevation is the highest-altitude arena in Division I college basketball.
The Wolf Pack has leaned heavily on guards Grant Sherfield (34.1 minutes per game) and Desmond Cambridge (30.2 minutes per game) and could sub a little quicker in this series due to the altitude, although Alford joked he'll tell his young team playing at altitude only matters when you're outside and not inside an arena.
"Sometimes you might sub a little earlier so guys can get their second wind," Alford said. "That type of thing. You might see us sub a little earlier than we normally do because that's the thing altitude effects more than anything else, getting that second and third wind. You get hit a little bit quicker, and it takes a little longer to get that. We might sub a little quicker, but that varies on our availability of how deep we are."
Alford said it was nice to freshmen DeAndre Henry and Alem Huseinovic play solid minutes last week against Fresno State, which adds depth to his rotation. In Sunday's win over Fresno State, Henry tied a career high with six points on 3-of-4 shooting.
"It was great seeing Dre come in and give us a big boost," Alford said. "Alem came in and played his minutes very well last week. That was good to see those guys come in and give us a big lift when we needed it. If we get Daniel back and Zane can play, we get much deeper and can handle that."
Addison Patterson joins team
Oregon transfer Addison Patterson, who signed with Nevada in November, has officially been added to the roster and joined Wolf Pack practice. Patterson completed the required quarantine after traveling to Reno and will be enrolled in classes this spring. He's a 6-6 guard who played for Oregon last season, although he never enrolled in classes with the Ducks in the fall. As a result, Nevada has filed a petition with the NCAA to make him immediately eligible to play this season.
Joining Patterson on Nevada's roster for the second semester will be Texas transfer Will Baker, a 7-foot center who won't be eligible to play this season but is expected to be a big part of the Wolf Pack's future. At minimum, Patterson and Baker will be able to practice with Nevada this season and serve on the scout team.
"It's going to help having Addison and Will," Alford said. "Will is going to join us in about a week. But having those two guys around in practice will be really good. (Addison's) in a waiver process, so I have no idea if Addison will get a waiver or not. But he's just an athletic guard who can really score the basketball and he works defensively. But he's got a scoring mindset. Adding those two guys that are really skilled offensively is going to help us down the road."
Patterson averaged 4.6 points in 11 minutes per game for Oregon last season. He shot 56.3 percent from the field, including 35.7 percent from three.
You can watch Steve Alford's full Monday press conference below.