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Josh Owens Medically Cleared To Play

Stanford basketball received some rare good news on the injury front when it was announced that Josh Owens has been cleared to return to the court for the 2010-11 season. Owens, a 6-foot-8 junior forward/center, was felled by a mysterious injury that caused him to miss the entire 2009-10 campaign, leaving Stanford perilously thin in the interior. The exact nature of the injury was never disclosed, but it was serious enough for Jon Wilner to state that he did not expect Owens to ever take the court again. Stanford was very cautious and only cleared Owens after extensive medical advice:

After undergoing a series of varied comprehensive examinations, in addition to acquiring multiple medical opinions from prominent specialists around the country, it has been determined Owens is able to safely return to practice and full participation.

Owens will immediately compete for playing time in the front court with returning forwards Jack Trotter and Andrew Zimmermann and incoming freshmen Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown, amongst other bigs in Stanford's highly ranked 2010 recruiting class. Owens averaged 6.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while logging starter's minutes as a sophomore and was expected to play a major role in 2010. With his return there will be less pressure on the freshmen and may allow Trotter and Zimmermann to shift into more natural roles as bench players. At the very least, Owens will give Johnny Dawkins more options and a longer bench, a welcome change for a team that frequently played just 8 deep in 2010.