Danny Dixon set to return; A.J. Taylor may miss season

Brett Friedlander

NC State basketball coach Kevin Keatts said Monday that reserve big man Danny Dixon will likely return to to the lineup for Thursday's game against Memphis in Brooklyn. The 6-foot-10 graduate transfer from Missouri-Kansas City has been sidelined since the Detroit Mercy game on Nov. 10 because of a foot injury.

The news about sophomore guard A.J. Taylor wasn't as optimistic.

Keatts said that the junior college transfer, who made only a cameo appearance in the Wolfpack's season opener against Georgia Tech, could potentially miss the rest of the season because of a knee issue.

 "A.J.'s knee is back bothering him and there's a good chance that A.J. won't play the rest of the year," Keatts said at a press conference in advance of Thursday's game in Brooklyn. "There's a chance that he could medically redshirt. 

"With Danny Dixon, we're hopeful. I just was talking to our trainer. We hope we can get him in practice today and get some reps for him."

Keatts said after Saturday's win against Little Rock that Dixon's availability is important because it gives him the depth and flexibility to put the team's two other bigs -- freshman Manny Bates and junior D.J. Funderburk -- on the floor at the same time.

"I could have played Danny Dixon, but I wanted to give him one more game to rest his foot," Keatts said Saturday. "Being able to have Danny back in the rotation gives me the ability to move D.J. to play some four at times."

Dixon is averaging 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 5.5 minutes in his two games with the Wolfpack thus far. Taylor played on three minutes against Georgia Tech, scoring one point, grabbing two rebounds and blocking a shot.