- Jon Greenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Jon Scheyer is ready to play basketball again.
Scheyer, a Northbrook, Ill. native and former Duke star, signed a NBDL contract Monday. He will play for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who recently lost point guard Mustafa Shakur to an NBA call-up with the Washington Wizards.
"It was a matter of finding what we feel is a good situation, and we feel Rio Grande is that situation after losing its point guard," Scheyer's agent Mark Bartelstein said in a phone conversation.
Scheyer has dealt with injuries since winning the NCAA title in April 2010, first mononucleosis, and most notably a serious right eye injury in the NBA summer league that resulted in optic nerve damage. After a truncated recovery period, Scheyer went to training camp with the Los Angeles Clippers in the fall, but he was cut.
Since then, he has lived at home in suburban Chicago and worked out while his eye continued to heal. He had turned down European offers and D-League interest.
His eye is better, he said, and his strength is back.
Last week, he held an event for his fundraiser where he watched his alma mater take on North Carolina with a group of fans, friends and family at a local bar.
"In all seriousness, watching that game with those people, that was part of it; seeing those guys play," he said in a phone conversation Wednesday night. "I just want to play. I don't care about the money right now. I know I can play, know I can do it."
He talked with Bartelstein over the weekend and decided to test the waters, he said. Bartelstein agreed with the decision.
"I've had an itch for awhile," Scheyer said. "I wasn't sure I was completely ready. I just wanted the right situation. I didn't just want to go into something to go into something."
Former Marquette guard, and Hillcrest star, Jerel McNeal is also on the Vipers, which are tied for the West Conference lead at 23-10, going into Wednesday's game. Scheyer will have 16 games to test himself. He said he's anxious to start.
"This is the longest I've ever gone not being on a team," he said. "That's the thing I miss, being on a team and embracing it. That's what I can't wait for the most."
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.
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