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DSU men's basketball standout Lee doesn't have torn ACL

Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State junior Matt Lee drives against Rocky Mountain on Nov. 23 at Scott Gymnasium. Lee got some good news last week. His knee injury isn't as severe as anticipated and he should be able to return to the court next week.

Matt Lee gave Dickinson State men's basketball coach Ty Orton an unexpected Christmas gift: a healthy knee.

Lee's visit to his doctors in Utah last week revealed what he believed would be a torn ACL in his left knee was only a severe bone bruise with no ligament tears.

Orton said Lee plans to be with the team today and Thursday for their games at the Rocky Mountain College Classic in Billings, Mont., and return to practice next week.

"I was happy for him," Orton said. "He's worked so hard to get to the point where he needs to be at. We need a little bit of a pick-me-up and Matt needed that pick-me-up."

Lee, a 6-foot-6 junior center and two-time NAIA Division II All-America honorable mention selection, was averaging 12.7 points and team highs of 9.2 rebounds and 3 assists a game when he was injured Dec. 9 at the University of Great Falls (Mont.).

If all goes well in Lee's recovery, he should miss only three games. DSU beat the University of Winnipeg (Manitoba) 80-63 on Dec. 15 and face Carroll College at 6 p.m. today and Rocky Mountain College at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Orton said he expects Lee to return to the lineup Jan. 13 when the Blue Hawks (7-9) host Black Hills State. They play South Dakota Mines the following night.

"He's got one more week and then he'll start practicing," Orton said.

Orton added that the Blue Hawks are still waiting to find out the status of senior Pierce Brooks, a transfer from Texas A&M-Kingsville who has not been cleared to play by the NAIA because of transfer eligibility rules.

Orton had hoped Brooks, a 6-foot-6 forward who has been practicing with DSU all year, would finally be able to join the team this week. Orton said the NAIA has determined Brooks has only one semester of eligibility remaining.

"We haven't got the official word," Orton said. "As of now, he's not playing."

Orton added he hopes that Brooks will be eligible for DSU's home weekend Jan. 13 and 14.

"We don't want to rush anything," Orton said. "We're making sure we follow the rules. When they say it's OK is when we go."

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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