Arizona Basketball

Parker Jackson-Cartwright eyes return at start of Pac-12 play

Parker Jackson-Cartwright

Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller isn’t ready to commit to a date.

But Dec. 30 sounds good.

Miller was optimistic Monday that starting point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright was ahead of schedule in his rebab from a high ankle sprain, suffered Nov. 30 against Texas Southern. The coach was also optimistic that his first announced timeline of a two-month absence would not be the case.

Jackson-Cartwright will, of course, be out Tuesday night when the Wildcats (10-2) finish their non-conference schedule against New Mexico (7-4) … and our Steve Rivera has more about that here.

That will be the sixth full game Jackson-Cartwright will miss, and it might be his last.

Miller on Monday would not rule out PJC’s return for the Pac-12 opener at Cal on Dec. 30.

“I think it’s possible,” Miller said. “I also think it’s possible that that isn’t the case.”

So, that’s a definite maybe.

Arizona fans will take that.

Miller said Jackson-Cartwright was “going to try a few things today that he hasn’t” and that he has been able to a 40-minute workout in the gym and participate in some “five-on-zero” drills.

“He’s made the progress that we like,” Miller said.

“As (men’s basketball trainer) Justin Kokoskie mentioned, with high ankle sprains, you can’t really predict how quickly people heal or how the improvement is going to increase.”

Arizona has no margin of error with a rotation of seven scholarship players. Jackson-Cartwright, even in limited minutes at first, would be a big boost to the overall depth, allowing Kadeem Allen to move to his more comfortable position off the ball and eliminating the need for 7-footer Lauri Markkanen to play small forward.

As for the currently ineligible Allonzo Trier, who knows?

While Miller is beyond eager to get back PJC, the only true point guard on the team, there is no sense in rushing him back. Arizona knows that.

“He’s entering that phase where he is able to do certain things with full range of motion and his strength returns,” Miller said. “That is the first threshold that we want to get through, where he’s at no further risk.”

“I’m trusting the doctors. I’m trusting Justin. I know that we’re making sure we’re not putting Parker at any further risk.”

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