The Southeast Missouri State men's basketball program breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday after favorable results of an MRI on its top player.
Senior forward Leon Powell injured his left knee during an awkward landing early in Monday's 68-63 exhibition loss to Harding. He played only six minutes.
The MRI showed no structural damage, and Powell's status is day-to-day. Southeast coach Dickey Nutt said there is a chance Powell could play when the Redhawks open the season Friday at Missouri.
"It sure was great news about Leon," Nutt said. "We were very worried about that. We were just so glad the MRI came back negative."
Powell's left knee is the one in which he suffered a torn ACL during a pickup game that caused him to miss the entire 2009-10 season after he transferred to Southeast from Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
Powell recovered and led the nation in field-goal shooting at 63 percent while averaging team highs of 14.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game last year. He also paced the Redhawks with 50 blocks.
"Leon knew all along," Nutt said. "He was telling the doctor after the game Monday that he was fine. He was correct. He came down on it wrong somehow and just sprained it."
Nutt is taking a cautious approach toward Powell's availability for Friday's opener.
"We're hopeful, but we'll have to wait and see," Nutt said. "There's a good chance depending on how he feels. What we're not going to do is risk it. We've got the full season ahead of us. Conference is the most important thing."