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Arizona forward Stone Gettings clears concussion protocol, could play vs. St. John’s on Saturday

arizona-wildcats-stone-gettings-forward-concussion-facial-fracture-wooden-baylor-miller-injury-2019 Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller said Monday on his radio show that senior forward Stone Gettings is “concussion-symptom-free” and getting closer to a return.

Gettings suffered a concussion and facial fracture on Nov. 29 against Penn and has missed the last four games.

Miller said Gettings, who had a “high number” of concussion symptoms, is now able to do non-contact activities and was present at Monday’s practice, though he was obviously not a full participant.

“Some of [the symptoms] go away rather quickly within the first five days, three days, but then there’s those that just really stick with you,” Miller said. “It can take more than a week, more than a couple of weeks, sometimes more towards even a month before you’re free. And you can’t go to the next phase until you have no more symptoms. So the fact...we’re at 16 days and counting and he has no symptoms, that’s the first good sign. And now he’s able to do a few things non-contact-wise, which we’ll see how he goes there. That could stir up a few of the symptoms and certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that’s not the case. But I think Stone is going to make tremendous progress this week.”

Miller has said Gettings will play with a mask when he returns, which could be Saturday in the non-conference finale vs. St. John’s in San Francisco, though the Pac-12 opener against Arizona State on Jan. 4 sounds like the more likely return date.

“It’ll all depend on how he progresses the next couple days,” Miller said. “But I think it’s looking more and more promising when we return back from the holidays that he can resume and be a part of us and what we do hopefully the rest of the season. I know if you think about it, he only has this one year with us. No one feels worse than him that he’s missing time.”

The Wildcats have missed Gettings’ shooting ability, especially in the losses to Baylor and Gonzaga when they shot a combined 10 for 48 from the 3-point line. Gettings was 4 for 9 before getting injured and shoots 35 percent from distance for his career.

“The next phase is being able to run up and down with four or five others and do the non-contact (activities) but we miss him,” Miller said. “You have an injury like that and then you just you plug in certain guys to have bigger roles, but you never can quite get it completely how you had it before an injury like that happens. Stone was locked in on playing that position (power forward) any time Zeke (Nnaji) was not there and we didn’t really have to look at going as small. The one thing we love about Stone is he plays a different style. He is skilled, he shoots the ball and we really do miss him. We miss his depth, we miss the way he plays, and we’re really looking forward to get him back.”