Jim Calhoun attends UConn practice, but may not coach Saturday

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UConn coach Jim Calhoun was back at practice Friday, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be coaching the Huskies when they play host to Pitt on Saturday.

In fact, Calhoun was mostly there to alleviate some restlessness, not because he feels better after having surgery to alleviate nerve pain in his back.

“I feel tired now,” he told the AP. “It’s the first time I’ve practiced in almost four weeks. So it’s kind of hard to anticipate where I will be. But hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel better. If I don’t, if I feel like I can’t give the kids my all for a couple of hours, then I won’t do it and I’ll try it on Sunday in practice again.”

“I have not made plans to do anything else except come back,” he said. “A few things along the way have gotten in my way.”

Calhoun, 69, has been on indefinite medical leave since Feb. 3, missing eight games in that span. UConn (17-12) has gone 3-5 without him and in is danger of not making the NCAA tournament and not defending as champions.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.