After enduring a frustrating finish to the 2011-12 season, UTEP forward Cedrick Lang is feeling good again.
A stress fracture in his foot put a damper on the 6-9, 225-pound South Dakota native’s freshman season. For the last 12 games, his practice time was minimal and his playing time was limited.
When the Miners concluded a 15-win season with a loss to Memphis in the Conference USA Tournament quarterfinals, Lang opted for rest over surgery as the lynchpin of the recovery process.
“I just stayed completely off of it for a while,” Lang said. “I went home and saw the family. Then, when I got back to El Paso, they just had me lifting [weights] with no running. I would just do stretching and work my way back into it. I started jogging lightly, and eventually I started playing on it.
“Surgery was an option, but I didn’t want to do it. The only thing that surgery would have done was completely heal it, but I would have been out for two months doing absolutely nothing.”
Surgery or not, Lang is back in full health.
“I’ve been playing for a couple of weeks now,” he said. “I’ve been playing, working out, doing everything that [everybody else] on the team is doing.”
Lang showed his mettle by joining Jacques Streeter as the only Miners to play in all 32 games last season. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest, shooting a team-high 61.1 percent from the field. Lang tied the school record by making all nine of his field goal attempts versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
“Sometimes [the foot] hurt really bad, and sometimes I wouldn’t even feel it,” Lang said. “Usually the adrenaline would kick in so it wouldn’t really bother me. Sometimes I would have the other bigs stepping on my foot, and that would really hurt.”
For the last third of the season, Lang was unable to practice, and his conditioning suffered.
“It was really tough, considering that I was getting out of shape not running every day,” Lang said. “It just came down to doing what I could in the games, trying to hold my own. But it was a bad deal.”
Now recovered, Lang is looking forward to an injury-free 2012-13 season. He is already laying the groundwork for an improved sophomore campaign.
“We just had individual meetings with the coaches,” Lang he said. “Coach Floyd wants me to develop more of a left hand, and extend my game out to 15 feet where I can hit the jump shot when they’re not guarding me.
“I need to work on free throws, obviously [56.1 percent]. My offensive game is very streaky. I need to continue to work on that.”
The school year may be winding down, but Lang is just getting started with developing his game.
“I’m going home next week to see the family and chill with my friends,” he said. “But I’m going to keep working out. I have a trainer there who I have worked with since my freshman year in high school. But I’ll come back for the first semester of summer school.
“I just need to keep on working.”