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Injured center Jamuni McNeace could return Saturday

NORMAN — Oklahoma center Jamuni McNeace was held out of practice Wednesday afternoon as he continues to rehab from a right ankle sprain. 

Coach Lon Kruger is hopeful to have his senior big man back when OU (8-1) hosts Southern California at 8 p.m. Saturday in Tulsa. 

“Moving around a little more,” Kruger said of McNeace. “Still tender. Think he’ll be ready by Saturday, but obviously we’re getting one day closer and still no full speed yet. But making progress.” 

McNeace spent practice Wednesday doing light footwork drills on the baseline to test his ankle. 

He sustained the injury just before Oklahoma’s game against Notre Dame last Tuesday. He missed that game, and was held out again last Saturday in the Sooners’ win against Wichita State. 

McNeace is second on the team in both points (9.9) and rebounds per game (7.0). He’s recorded 15 blocks. No other Sooner has more than six. 

Kruger has employed a smaller starting five in McNeace’s absence. Guard Miles Reynolds has slid into the starting lineup, giving the Sooners a front court comprised of forwards Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek. 

Reserve center Kur Kuath has missed the last three games with a back issue. His timeline to return is less certain, although he looked to be at full speed Wednesday.

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