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Stone Gettings progressing but won’t play Wednesday vs. Nebraska-Omaha; Nico Mannion and Josh Green return to practice

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Arizona Wildcats forward Stone Gettings is “making a lot of progress” in his recovery from a concussion and facial fracture, but won’t play Wednesday against Nebraska-Omaha, UA coach Sean Miller said Monday on his radio show.

His status for Saturday’s game vs. No. 6 Gonzaga is in doubt too. The senior has been out since Nov. 29 when he got struck in the face against Penn.

“I think his concussion symptoms, he’s just about at the tail end of it,” Miller said. “But it all depends. Sometimes the tail end takes a little bit longer to get rid of than maybe the initial shock of a concussion. But as you know, we’re going on the doctors and Justin Kokoskie.

“And Stone is a smart, young man who’s in his homestretch of his college career. So he has a good sense of where he is and I think that once we get through this week, then he might be cleared to resume activities. He’s gonna have to play with a mask because he suffered a facial fracture. And from what I’m being told, the next couple of weeks he should get some great healing there. You go big picture, once he gets through the holiday season and our non-conference season is over, I think at that point he’ll really return back to form. It’s just we’re kind of in that unknown area of when he’ll be able to come back. He’s certainly not going to play on Wednesday.”

Arizona missed Gettings’ shooting in Saturday’s 63-58 loss to Baylor, when it went just 2 for 18 from the 3-point line. But one positive development was the play of freshman 7-footer Christian Koloko, who had two points, two assists, and two blocks in 12 minutes.

Well, actually three blocks, Miller said.

“They had him on the stat sheet for two, he ended up blocked in three, and he really affected what we thought were five shots,” Miller said. “…And then he had a behind-the-back pass. And I don’t know where he pulled that out from. But it was one of the best plays of the game.”

“And in the 12 minutes that he played, he was a big positive and we want to get him in there more. I think that as we move through the season, that added depth and him being a difference maker as a 7-footer on defense, could be something that could really help us win a number of games, but we love Christian. Regardless of what he does this year, his best years are ahead of him. But I think part of us getting him there is to get him some game experience this year. And by the way, it’s not charity. He’s earned it and he can help us as evidence by how he played against Baylor.”

In more promising injury news, Miller said freshmen Josh Green (strep throat) and Nico Mannion (hip and ankle) practiced Monday for the first time in 13 days. Both were limited against Baylor.

“It was great to be able to welcome them back into practice because we had a hard practice today, and and I think that there are plenty more to come,” Miller said. “Our team needs to do that to improve. It’s still very early in the year and part of the improvement isn’t just by watching us in games, it’s by watching us grow each day and within our practice environment.”

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Ryan Kelapire

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