COLLEGE PARK — A Maryland basketball team that has lost two non-conference games at home for the first time in 25 years will receive a belated Christmas present when it plays Tulsa on Sunday night – sophomore point guard Seth Allen.
Terps coach Mark Turgeon said after practice Saturday that Allen has been cleared by doctors to begin playing. On Sunday, Turgeon said Allen would come off the bench and play against Tulsa.
Allen, who was expected to start at point guard before breaking his left foot in preseason workouts, began practicing with the team Friday.
“For the first day he looked pretty good,” Turgeon said. “He’s tired obviously, he’s out of shape, but he looked pretty good. Hopefully he won’t get sore today, he won’t be sore tomorrow. We’ll try to give him a few minutes. If he’s sore, we probably won’t play him.”
Allen was expected to be out between eight and 10 weeks when the injury first happened, and Turgeon said that Thursday marked exactly eight weeks. After Tulsa (4-8), Maryland (7-5) plays North Carolina Central on Tuesday before returning to its ACC schedule Saturday at home against Georgia Tech.
Asked if Allen was ahead of schedule, Turgeon said, “Not his schedule. Because of the break, I think we were a little more cautious. We did an X-ray yesterday and the doctors were like, ‘He’s free to go.’ It might take awhile. He’ll do the best he can.”
Turgeon added that “[he’s] favoring it [his left foot] a little bit, but didn’t have any pain, which is good, we’re just taking it one day at a time. He did a little bit yesterday and today he did a little bit more. We’ll see how he reacts.”
During practice Saturday, Allen appeared to be pretty much the same player he was as a freshman – getting to the hoop with ease as well as being able to hit 3-point shots with more consistency than the rest of Maryland’s guards. He also had a few turnovers.
“You guys didn’t see him right before he got hurt and the level he was playing at,” Turgeon told reporters. “He’s lost [a step]. But he did well. We’ll see how sore he is. Don’t think we can expect him to play a lot of minutes tomorrow night and be fantastic. If he’s not sore, maybe we’ll try to give him a few minutes in each half and go from there.”
Said freshman point guard Roddy Peters, “I wasn’t even expecting him to come back and run like he’s running. I thought he’d still be limping around still. He’s still shooting like when he left.”
Allen was not made available to the media after practice, but his teammates are excited to have him back.
“It’ll be a little more comfortable now that I’ll have another point guard on the floor,” said Peters, who has started the past three games at point guard after backing up junior Dez Wells. “It’ll help me out.”
Said sophomore forward Jake Layman, “It’s huge because it gives us our point guard back, one of our leaders back, it’s going to be big for us. I think he brings more of a shooting threat, he can step out and hit 3 just as good as me and Ev[an Smotrycz] can.”