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Cornette hopes to shake off injury

Andrew Soukup | Friday, December 5, 2003

Bothered by a knee that caused nagging pain, Jordan Cornette crossed his fingers and went to the Irish training staff for a more thorough examination.Cornette had knee surgery back in high school, and he worried the Notre Dame trainers would recommend he have surgery again – meaning the junior forward would have to spend at least a month on the sidelines to recover. But fortune was on Cornette’s – and Notre Dame’s – side. Although he’ll have to wear a knee brace, Cornette will still be able to play for the Irish, including Saturday’s home game against Central Michigan.”It’s nagging, but it’s to the point where I don’t think it’s going to be detrimental to my game,” Cornette said. “I just have to get used to playing with the knee brace on, and it kind of masks a lot of the pain. Once I get comfortable with that, I should be fine.”The Irish (2-1) will be looking to bounce back from their 71-58 loss at No. 24 Marquette Monday night. In that game, Cornette grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds but only scored three points before fouling out late in the game.Since then, Cornette has talked with Irish coach Mike Brey about using his versatility as an agile big man to his advantage – something the junior believes he hasn’t done yet this season.For example, in Notre Dame’s first three games, Cornette has taken 15 3-pointers, but made just three of them. Last season, he took 19 all season.”My game has been one-dimensional lately,” he said. “I’ve been just hanging by the line shooting 3-pointers and that’s not the player I want to be, that’s not the type of game I have.”Cornette said he’s not afraid to hoist 3-pointers – he made 4-of-5 in an exhibition game this year – if he has an open look. But he also said he has to concentrate more on driving to the basket or penetrating and passing.”Coach still has confidence in my shot, I just have to pick and choose my spots,” the 6-foot-9 forward said. “I’ve got the versatility where I can hang around the 3-point line, drive and finish the layup and rebound well. I think I can continue to do that more. …”You’re still going to see me out by the 3-point line, but I won’t be hanging there settling for a shot.”Cornette hasn’t and said he won’t blame his shooting woes on his bum knee. He said his knee swelled up before Notre Dame’s Dec. 5 exhibition and the pain started to become more unbearable. But in recent days, the swelling and pain decreased, leaving Cornette with a dull ache he says he can play through.However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of knee surgery in the off-season. If the pain persists, Cornette anticipates having surgery to alleviate the pain before next year.He’s just glad he doesn’t have to miss any of this one.”I feel like I’m in rhythm now and I don’t want to lose my touch with this team,” he said. “Being out four weeks takes you out of a lot, and I didn’t want to come back and still be shaky about what I was going to have to do.”