Brady Manek had to watch Oklahoma’s first bout with the Kansas Jayhawks 12 days ago from the couch.
The senior forward missed the contest, as well as the Sooners next game against TCU, dealing with COVID-19.
“It was definitely weird watching a game from home,” Manek said in a video press conference on Thursday. “I hadn’t done that. It was a weird feeling.”
Lon Kruger’s Sooners went 1-1 in the two games without Manek and sophomore Jalen Hill, falling 63-59 in Lawrence before rebounding to an emphatic 82-46 win over the Horned Frogs back in the Lloyd Noble Center.
Manek said he learned of his test result in the 72 hours following OU’s trip to Waco.
“We played at Baylor the night before and I had that hard fall,” he said. “I was sore the next day and they wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
Only after his trip to the doctor did Manek get the results back, triggering his 10-day absence. Following the appointments, Manek said he had already headed home to Harrah and was spending time with his mother when he found out.
“Just kind of a weird situation. But at least I got to spend it with my mom and not in some place by myself going crazy,” Manek said. “It was a long couple of days. Got through it, glad to be back.”
While he was away from the team in quarantine, Manek said his teammates and coaches kept him involved virtually.
“People call me all the time, text me all the time,” he said. “It was really cool. They kind of kept me in the loop and it was good for me to be able to hear stuff from the outside world.”
Manek was disappointed he couldn’t help his team while he was out, especially in OU’s tight contest against the Jayhawks.
“That was a really good game,” he said. “In the last two minutes, I was up walking around. It was one of those stressful moments where I wish I could have been there, but I had no chance of being there because of what happened."
After the game, Manek said he texted fellow senior Austin Reaves to tell him, “hey man, you played amazing. You just have to keep that up.”
In Oklahoma’s 76-50 thrashing of Kansas State on Tuesday, Manek returned from a bench role to log 11 minutes while he tries to play himself back into shape.
“As you would imagine, being out 12 days no one’s condition is going to be game-like,” Kruger said. “I thought the minutes that he played he didn’t look like he was dragging unusually.”
Acknowledging it would take a little bit to get back up to speed, Manek said he was ready to get back to work.
“My conditioning is coming back slowly,” he said. “I’m just ready to keep grinding the rest of the season.”
Manek is just glad the situation is behind him and he won’t have to deal with it again.
“The only positive takeaway is that you don’t have to worry about it later in the year. Everything else sucks.”