Updated: UA coach Sean Miller confirmed this afternoon that Peters has been cleared and will practice fully today. However, Miller said he wasn't sure if Peters would play on Friday against Cal Poly.
"It's been a while since he’s played competitive five-on-five," Miller said. "So you don't go from zero to 100."
Arizona Wildcats forward Zach Peters is expected to be fully cleared today after being further examined Monday in Pittsburgh, his father told the Star today.
A freshman transfer from Kansas, Peters was being held back from full contact drills because of the five concussions he suffered in 2011 and 2012. But his father, Tim, said Zach proved to be in the “99th percentile” in reflex tests taken recently, having already met standards for memory and cognition.
Tim Peters said he is expecting his son will be able to practice fully today and possibly even play in UA’s season opener Friday against Cal Poly, if UA coach Sean Miller wants him to. (Miller is expected to be available for comment later today).
“We’re anticipating he’ll be cleared today,” Tim Peters said. “They took him back to a concussion specialist where he did not test well before and he did great this time.
“Everybody feels really good. All three segments (memory, cognition, reflexes) are back. We’re excited because of what he did. It’s been a long year. He has worked really hard and now should be 100 percent clear.”
Peters first suffered a concussion at a LeBron James camp during the summer of 2011, then another while playing high school football during the fall of 2011.
He suffered a concussion shortly after arriving at Kansas in June 2012, and while he played during the Jayhawks’ summer exhibition tour in August, Peters suffered a concussion in September and took another blow later in the fall while wearing a protective helmet.
By November 2012, Peters announced he would transfer from Kansas and returned home to suburban Dallas. He enrolled in classes at Collin College in Texas but could not take any heavy analytical courses because his brain wasn't ready, Tim Peters said.
But by late January, Peters began testing normally on academics. By February, a concussion specialist in Dallas cleared him for physical activity, and soon after he began thinking about playing again. He committed to Arizona in May and has been working out with the Wildcats since the summer, except for full-contact drills.
Meanwhile, Peters had been working with a computer program designed to test his eye reflexes.
“A spot will show up, and I have to click on it fast,” Peters said in September. “Because I had concussions, the stimulus was kind of thrown off, and they say it’s really important when you’re playing a full-speed sport to get all that back.”
Peters also had to clear an NCAA hurdle this fall, appealing to play right away by saying he left Kansas for reasons that were out of his control. Transfers normally must sit out an entire year-of-residence at a new school but Peters was cleared to play immediately just before full practices began on Sept. 27.
Peters is expected to give the Wildcats a good-shooting option in the frontcourt, which Arizona lost last spring when Grant Jerrett left early for professional basketball.
“Having Zach eligible to play would solve one of the things I have brought up as a concern,” Miller said during UA’s preseason media day in September, referring to a potentially short-handed frontcourt. “The other thing I love about Zach, having coached him and watched him, is he really can shoot the ball, and he’s skilled.
“I don’t know if he’s going to take 37 minutes, but I know there’s no question he would be a solid piece (of the rotation). We’re optimistic it will happen. Hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Miller said after UA's exhibition game with Augustana on Oct. 28 that he hoped Peters would be fully cleared within "a week to 10 days," which proved to be the case.
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