By Kevin Posival

Killeen Daily Herald

It's been a long season already for Sederick Jennings.

For more than two months, the Killeen High junior guard has had to sit and watch the eighth-ranked Runnin' Roos – a team he helped advance to the regional quarterfinals a season ago.

Finally, he gets to contribute again.

Jennings was cleared Monday to practice and play after breaking his left leg in a Nov. 7 scrimmage at Shoemaker, the same gym where both Harker Heights junior Royce O'Neale and Shoemaker senior Jasmine Dill both suffered season-ending injuries.

"It felt real good just to know that I'm back out there to contribute to the team again," Jennings said. "It's been hard. It's been depressing for me because I know I could've been out there to help, but knowing that I'm not (was) just depressing."

Not usually much of a talker before fracturing his left ankle in two places during Friday's loss to Shoemaker, O'Neale was particularly to the point Monday after hearing season-ending surgery is likely the only option.

"I'm all right," he said deflatedly via phone.

The 6-foot-4 O'Neale was playing defense in the paint when a teammate tried to take a charge and fell awkwardly on O'Neale's ankle in the first quarter of Heights' 67-55 loss to the Grey Wolves. Luckily, the breaks were clean and no muscles were damaged.

"It's unfortunate that I can't play, but hopefully my team steps up and gets us to the playoffs," O'Neale said.

O'Neale is scheduled to meet his doctor Wednesday, with the surgery likely to take place soon after.

"We're just doing a whole lot of praying," said his mother, Deborah Kingwood.

Dill, who tore the ACL in her left knee in Shoemaker's 67-34 loss to Cedar Park on Nov. 24, said she expects to have surgery on the knee in February and, despite initially taking the news hard, has moved on and still hopes to play college basketball.

"A real basketball player would (take it hard) if they love the game. It was hard on me. I had my tears but I got through it," said Dill.

"Now, I'm striving for more academic (success). Right now, I already have an academic scholarship to Stephen F. Austin. I'm working more towards that but I am still working on highlight tapes and sending those out to colleges as well. I hope things aren't completely down about me playing basketball at the next level."

The Lady Grey Wolves were 3-2 before Dill's injury but have struggled since, winning just four of their last 20 and are 0-9 in District 12-5A with five games left.

Jennings, who averaged six points off the bench last season, still has to undergo physical therapy with Killeen High trainer Al 'Doc' Wilson to strengthen his left quadricep.

Killeen coach Jason Fossett said two weeks ago that Jennings will be slowly worked back into the rotation but could see limited minutes as early as tonight when the Roos (20-7, 3-0 25-4A) play at Pflugerville Hendrickson, and Friday when they host fifth-ranked Lake Travis.

Alex Byington contributed to this report.

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