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Northwestern’s JerShon Cobb says he’s finally ready to go

Northwestern's JerShCobb (23) celebrates three point basket against Indianduring first half an NCAA college basketball game Sunday Jan. 9 2011

Northwestern's JerShon Cobb (23) celebrates a three point basket against Indiana during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011, in Evanston,Ill. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

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Updated: March 16, 2012 8:17AM

Northwestern guard JerShon Cobb insists his left leg and back are fine, but he knows coach Bill Carmody will have the last word when it comes to playing time.

Cobb hasn’t had the sophomore season he envisioned.
After having surgery on his left hip during the offseason, he said he felt great when the Wildcats started camp in October. There were times he had some soreness in the hip, though.

Cobb has played and practiced in spurts. He sat out three games in late November and
early December, then returned for a bulk of the games through mid-January, only to sit out again beginning with NU’s victory
Jan. 14 against Michigan State.

Cobb has missed 12 games because of hip, leg or back pain. He finally got off the bench in the Wildcats’ 87-77 loss Sunday at Purdue, and he hopes to see more action Wednesday at No. 18 Indiana.

‘‘Because of my hip surgery, I had a back bulge, which, when I ran, [caused] pain down my leg,’’ Cobb said. ‘‘It’s kind of like a disc [problem] but not as bad. It’s better now, but now it’s about getting in shape. The pain when I run is gone. I’m ready to play whenever [Carmody] wants to put me in, and hopefully it will be at Indiana.’’

Cobb has been practicing daily for only two weeks and said there is some rust to his game. He hasn’t gotten his shooting rhythm back, but he said the thing he needs to work on most is finding that chemistry with his teammates.

‘‘I think I’m past that [frustration] stage now,’’ Cobb said. ‘‘It really tested me as a man, but you go through things in your life, and it’s another obstacle you have to get through.’’

Because of injuries to Cobb, guard Alex Marcotullio (left big toe, concussion) and center Luka Mirkovic (ankle), Carmody has been forced to rely on a handful of players to carry the load in terms of minutes.

‘‘I think he’ll get in, and we’ll see where it goes,’’ Carmody said, referring to Cobb. ‘‘He has to be ready, and I don’t want to throw him in there when he’s not ready.

‘‘He hasn’t played in so long, I don’t know if [Cobb is rusty]. But he has to get into game shape — mental shape — to play the game.’’

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