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Posted at 1:46 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Sammy Zeglinski set to return to practice this week

By Steve Yanda

Virginia junior guard Sammy Zeglinski made comments in recent days on several social media outlets that his goal is to be able to play for the Cavaliers on Sunday at Virginia Tech. Zeglinski underwent surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee Oct. 19 and originally was expected to return sometime in mid-December.

From experience, Virginia Coach Tony Bennett understands Zeglinski's mind-set and respects the player's ambition. But when asked whether it is realistic to expect Zeglinski to play against the Hokies, Bennett said he "would be surprised."

Zeglinski is scheduled to meet with team doctors today and, based on that assessment, may be cleared to return to at least partial participation in practice as soon as this afternoon.

"He has not practiced yet," Bennett said of Zeglinski. "We’ll see what the doctor says. He’ll do some drills that we’re doing, hopefully today or this week, and just see how his knee progresses. He’s starting to shoot harder and go from there.

"When he had the surgery it was an eight-week projection. I would never do anything to put Sammy in harm’s way. Every player wants to play as soon as possible, but it’s got to be strong, his knee does. It has to be able to withstand, you know, because you can ride a bike hard, you can do shooting drills, but when you’re all of the sudden competing hard and getting in the game, it’s got to hold up. When he’s ready, he’ll play, because I think he’ll be a welcome addition."

Sophomore guard Jontel Evans primarily has handled the point guard duties in Zeglinski's absence, though freshman Joe Harris and senior Mustapha Farrakhan also took turns handling the ball during Monday night's win at Minnesota. Freshmen guards Billy Baron and K.T. Harrell also have taken turns running the point for the Cavaliers in certain spots.

While all five of those players have displayed flashes of brilliance through the first seven games of the season, Bennett believes Zeglinski's return will provide the entire team a steadying hand. The Cavaliers have allowed more turnovers (85) than they have forced (80) thus far.

"I know Sammy is hopeful, but we’ll see how he progresses," Bennett said. "I’m going to be more cautious than Sammy would. I’ve been in his spot, and I’ve messed up a knee surgery by coming back too soon, and in the end it took me longer. So hopefully it’ll be okay, and we’ll just see when he’s ready and not rush it."

By Steve Yanda  | December 1, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Men's Basketball  
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Next: Odds and ends from Mike London's season-ending press conference

Comments

Tony Bennett = The Answer for UVA! I think they finally got the Basketball program headed in the right direction under his leadership!

Posted by: frmi | December 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

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