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NU’s Alex Marcotullio says time off did him some good

Lewis Jackslooks pass as Alex Marcotullio guards during second half Saturday.  |  Nam Y. Huh~AP

Lewis Jackson looks to pass as Alex Marcotullio guards during the second half Saturday. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Nebraska at Northwestern

The facts: 6 p.m., ESPN2, 720-AM.

Updated: March 3, 2012 11:38AM

Maybe getting conked on the head was the best thing to happen to Northwestern guard Alex Marcotullio.

Marcotullio suffered a concussion in the Wildcats’ victory Jan. 14 against Michigan State and missed their loss Jan. 18 at Wisconsin. During the
layoff, Marcotullio was able to rest his left big toe, which he injured in a preseason scrimmage Oct. 30. The
injury has hampered his shot since.

But the time off helped. Marcotullio returned in a loss Jan. 22 at Minnesota and also played in a loss Saturday against Purdue. He expects to come off the bench again when NU (12-8, 2-6 Big Ten) hosts Nebraska (11-9, 3-6) on Thursday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

‘‘I’m feeling a lot better,’’ Marcotullio said. ‘‘It was good to be back for an entire week and a half. I got my legs back under me and my wind back. I was off for a week straight [with the concussion], and I didn’t do anything.
After [Minnesota], I’ve been practicing every day.’’

Before the concussion, Marcotullio had been an inconsistent presence at practices and games. The toe injury made him day-to-day, and the Wildcats lost a solid three-point threat.

But the effects of the concussion forced Marcotullio to sit and do nothing. The rest helped his toe heal, and now he is practicing regularly. He said he’s at about 80 percent.

‘‘That would be the only positive you can take away from [the concussion],’’
Marcotullio said. ‘‘It’s kind
of sad.’’

The news isn’t so good for two other NU players who are injured. Guard JerShon Cobb has practiced twice this week, but coach Bill Carmody said he has ‘‘discomfort’’ in his left leg and probably won’t play Thursday.

And center Luka Mirkovic has a sprained left ankle. Carmody said he didn’t think Mirkovic would play against Nebraska, either.

‘‘They both did a little bit [Tuesday],’’ Carmody said. ‘‘They haven’t really practiced. But I don’t think [Cobb] will be ready for a while. It’s not exactly right, and we just want to make sure it is 100 percent before we go. I hope we can get JerShon a little bit at a time.’’

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