Virginia’s Justin Anderson could return as early as Saturday

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Justin Anderson spent the season’s first three months playing at an all-american level as the best shooter, the best defender and the all-around toughest dude on a Virginia team that is as tough as anyone in the country.

He was one of the biggest reasons that the Cavaliers had just one loss entering February, but he fractured a finger on his shooting hand in a win over Louisville, an injury that required surgery. Anderson was expected to be out for 4-6 weeks, but on Tuesday night, the program got some good news: there’s a chance that Anderson could be back in the lineup for their regular season finale against, of all teams, Louisville.

Anderson has been cleared to return to practice and participate in “game-related activities”, according to the Daily Progress, which could get him back into the lineup on Saturday. That would be exactly four weeks to the day after suffering the injury.

“My hope is we can get him back safely, sooner rather than later,” Bennett said on his radio show on Tuesday night. “If it goes well, maybe he’ll have a chance to play Saturday. Who knows? But it looks like he’s getting close – and that’s a good thing.”

Anderson’s return would be massive for the Cavs, and getting him back with a week and a half to spare before the NCAA tournament would be important as well. Anderson was shooting 48.4 percent from three before injury, but he’s a career 30.0 percent shooter. He’s going to need time to work through the rust that comes with having a splint on a finger on your shooting hand for three and a half weeks.