In this week's edition of Postin' Up, we sat down with redshirt sophomore center Christopher Niemann, who arguably took one of the longest roads towards finally seeing his first playing time as a Husker this season.
After battling back from two surgeries and one minor procedure on the same knee in the span of just two years, the Kühlungsborn, Germany, native played in his first collegiate game this season in his third year in Lincoln. Niemann talks about battling back from injury and his performance the most significant playing of his career during Wednesday's loss to Kansas State.
HI: Doc Sadler said your knee has felt better the past two weeks than it has since you suffered your first injury two years ago. What's it been like to finally get out on the court and practice with your teammates again?
CN: "It's great, that's for sure. I'm practicing more and I'm doing more for a couple weeks now, but I'm still not even close to there conditioning-wise and body-wise and leg-wise. The knee is getting better, but I'm still not there. It's still a far road to go."
HI: You played in a total of 20 minutes all season before seeing five minutes of pretty important playing time early one against Kansas State. How did your knee hold up on Wednesday?
CN: "It wasn't too bad. It was about what I expected. It was okay."
HI: With all the questions regarding the statuses of fellow centers Jorge Brian Diaz and Andre Almeida earlier this week, did you have any idea how much the coaches were counting on you to play against K-State?
CN: "I had no idea how much I was expected to play. I guess the biggest difference was I was more involved in the actual game preparation than just the scout team during the week. Other than that, everything was pretty much the same."
HI: What did that game mean for you personally just for the fact that after all that you've been through you were finally able to see your first Big 12 action?
CN: "It was a first, but in the end it was a basketball game. It was a basketball game I wanted to contribute to. It's important like every other game. I wouldn't say it was a special game. It was a game that we wanted to win, and we didn't. The loss kind of spoiled it a little bit."
HI: Overall, how would you grade your Big 12 debut? Did you play as well as you had hoped to going in?
CN: "No. First of all, I don't think I was great in anything. It was kind of harder than I expected, the first minutes. I tried to help, but I don't think I helped a lot. Just a couple plays. I was pretty slow and I felt the fatigue after a couple minutes after coming in. I didn't play as well as I hoped."