Buchanan High's Kyle Papendorf, one of the Central Section's top wrestlers, is expected to be sidelined a couple of weeks with a knee injury.
The 285- pounder, who is ranked first in the section and second in the state by thecaliforniawrestler.com, dislocated his right kneecap during the Bears' Tri-River Athletic Conference dual meet Jan. 13 at Madera.
Papendorf said he hopes to be recovered in time for the TRAC tournament Feb. 13 at Clovis, the first step in the postseason process that culminates in the CIF State Championships on March 5-6 at Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena.
Papendorf likely will miss the Battle for the Belt tournament at Temecula Valley on Friday and Saturday, a league dual against rival Clovis on Jan. 27 and the Puma Classic in Santa Rosa on Jan. 30, events he would have used to prepare himself for the postseason.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
"I'm doing a lot better than I thought I would be," Papendorf said. "It's definitely coming along. But I'm going to take it slow and make sure I'm rehabbing it really well."
Before his injury, Papendorf cemented his status as one of the state's best with a 1-0 overtime loss to No. 1-ranked and defending 215-pound state champion Drew Meulman of Saint Francis-Mountain View in the 285-pound final at the Doc Buchanan Invitational.
Papendorf will use his down time to work on his upper body strength and possibly even add a few pounds. He typically wrestles at around 245-250 pounds but would like to get into the 265-270 range so he will be better equipped to handed heavier opponents.
"It's definitely discouraging, but the positive side is I can start lifting upper body and get big again," Papendorf said.
And when he returns, Papendorf's goal remains unchanged.
"I don't expect anything less than being a state champ," said Papendorf, who placed fourth at the state meet last year. "But there are a lot of good guys out there. The top six all have as good a shot at winning it as I do, so we'll see how it all plays out."