Dick Luedke (right) interviews former Illinois State basketball standout Osiris Eldridge at courtside at Redbird Arena in Normal during an ISU game on Jan. 2, 2013. (Photo by B Corbin/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
WJBC's long-time 'Voice of the Redbirds,' Dick Luedke, will return to the microphone tonight after a month-long absence.
Luedke missed the last eight Illinois State men's basketball games after undergoing heart surgery.
"The recovery was about what (doctors) told me it would be. I progressively got to feeling a little better. I'm not 100 percent, but I think I'm ready to go."
Luedke underwent a five-hour surgery at Advocate BroMenm Medical Center to replace a damaged heart valve and repair another valve.
Luedke said he became easily exhausted after the surgery, but said a rehabilitation program has helped him regain his strength. Luedke, an avid runner, added it will likely be several more weeks before he can run again.
Luedke said his heart can handle the stress of calling ISU basketball, joking that he was plenty riled up in listening to all of the Redbird's close finishes while he was out.
Luedke said he appreciates everyone's well wishes.
"The prayers and the thoughts that people have had for me have just been overwhelming," Luedke said. "I think we all learn that when we go through something like this, we don't realize how many people we have who are so important in our lives."
Luedke is in his 27th season calling ISU games. He was the play-by-play voice for Illinois State men's basketball and football games from 1981 to 1998 as WJBC's Sports Director. After leaving WJBC full-time, he returned to the mic in 2003.
The Redbird men look to avenge a loss at Bradley on Jan. 29, their only loss in seven games after an 0-6 start in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Purdue at Illinois
The Fighting Illini, coming off of back-to-back wins over No. 1 Indiana and No. 18 Minnesota, looking to continue their winning ways as Purdue comes to Assembly Hall tonight. The Illini Sports Network has the call at 7:30 p.m. on WJBC 93.7 FM.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.