CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Kendrick Green is one of the few Illini athletes who remained in town the last few months. The Illini offensive lineman has spent the majority of his time at his apartment, opting to stay there instead of going back to his home in Peoria. No one would blame the 6-foot-4, 315 pounder for doing that either.
“When I went to college my mom downsized (her house),” Green said during a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. “I’m not sleeping on a couch when I have a nice bed here in Champaign.”
Green has been practicing social distancing, rarely leaving his place. The junior did make a trip to Alabama in March with teammate Jamal Woods. The two got workouts in pushing a truck, along with several other Illini spread out across the country who posted videos of themselves creatively finding ways to stay in shape. Now the thought of getting back together has him excited, after Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman announced a plan for football and men’s basketball players to return to campus and start voluntary workouts as soon as June 3.
“I think it’s a great plan, I think if everyone follows the guidelines, it’s going to work really well for us but it is all optional and I think guys are really going to do what’s best for them and at the end of the day, you can’t really be upset about that,” Green said. “I think we’re going to have the majority of the team coming back and trying to get together for the summer.”
Whitman and his team are trying to balance coronavirus safety with the reality that the fall season is quickly approaching. The plan to bring back athletes includes COVID-19 and antibody testing, quarantining and working out in small groups, among several other precautions. No decision has been made about playing sports in the fall, but Whitman wants to be sure Illini athletes are ready to go physically, if and when, the time comes to suit up competitively once again.
“Our student-athletes at this point in time are probably in at least as varied of shape as we’ve ever seen and as probably as they’ve ever been in the last few years of their life,” Whitman said during a Zoom call with media last week. “So we want to be sure we give them as much runway as we can to get back to point of consistent physical training so they’re prepared for what the rigors of fall will bring.”