Jim Calhoun’s return this season hinges on Monday’s surgery

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Once Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has back surgery for his spinal stenois on Monday, he’ll miss the Huskies’ game Tuesday at Providence.

But after that, anything’s possible for a return this season.

The surgery involved removing some of the bone in the spinal column to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Calhoun, 69, has had a history of health issues, but he’s usually able to tolerate pain and various maladies. The guy’s tough. But the spinal stenois has been painful enough that he’s missed the last seven games.

If the surgery’s successful, he could possibly return for UConn’s regular-season finale against Pitt on March 3.

“I have patients driving after a couple of days, and if you can drive, you can coach, assuming he’s not having other problems that would require a much more aggressive surgery,” Dr. John Knightly, who works at the Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., told the AP. “He’s not humping two-by-fours for a living. This is so he can walk more independently without pain.”

If that’s true, Calhoun’s return this season seems far more likely (a good thing for the struggling Huskies), as does him avoiding retirement.

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Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.