Terps point guard Seth Allen practices, close to returning

December 28, 2013

(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Injured point guard Seth Allen took another step towards returning to the Maryland basketball team when he participated fully in practice  Saturday morning and even ran during full-court, five-on-five drills. Allen received an X-ray on his broken left foot  Thursday, which showed a clean repair of the fifth metatarsal, leading the medical staff to clear Allen for live action. Allen underwent surgery in late October.

“He’s favoring it a little bit but didn’t have any pain, which is good,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’re just taking it one game at a time to see what we can get out of him. Did a little bit yesterday. Today he did a little bit more. We’ll see how he reacts.”

Any lingering soreness will dictate Allen’s timetable for game action. The Terrapins host Tulsa on Sunday night and Turgeon said the sophomore could see several minutes in both halves, provided he has no setbacks.

“If he’s not sore, we’ll try to ease him in,” Turgeon said. “How much, I don’t know. We’ll see how his foot reacts from this practice. He is athletic. He’s a world-class athlete I think. We’ll see. The whole thing is, the doctors said it’s healed, he’s free to go. In the back of our mind, we’re not thinking…to me it’s either broke or it’s not broke. Well it’s not broke anymore.”

Allen starred during Maryland’s foreign tour to the Bahamas this summer and earned positive reviews from Turgeon, who named Allen his starting point guard once Pe’Shon Howard transferred to Southern California after the 2012-13 season ended. Last season, Allen was the team’s most consistent reserve, finishing fourth in scoring (7.8 points per game), fourth in assists (2.3) and first in steals (1.0). He hit two late free throws against Duke to clinch the upset win over the then-No. 1 Blue Devils last February and entered this season expecting to direct the Terps offense after an offseason of point guard instruction.

From observing Thursday’s practice, Allen appeared to have few lingering effects of the injury, cutting with ease and darting up the court in transition. He hts several three-pointers and made quick passes, though committed a couple turnovers. Turgeon, however, was less positive about Allen’s return, repeating that he’s “lost” a step.

“You guys didn’t see him right before he got hurt, the level he was playing at,” Turgeon said. “He did good. He did well … It’ll be a process. I don’t think we can expect him to play a lot of minutes tomorrow night and be fantastic. Maybe if he’s not sore and everything goes good, we try to get him a few minutes each half and then just go from there.”

Whenever Allen returns to a full-time role – Maryland faces North Carolina Central on New Years’ Eve before turning to ACC play on Jan. 4 against Georgia Tech – it will boost a Terps team desperate for depth after a home loss to Boston University. Turgeon can now shuttle Allen and freshman Roddy Peters in the back court without worrying about moving Dez Wells and Nick Faust off the ball, away from their natural positions.

“I wasn’t expecting him to come back and run like he’s running and stuff,” Peters said of Allen. “I thought he’d be limping around still. He’s shooting the way he was before he left.”

Said forward Jake Layman: “He was working his butt off, doing everything he could and more to come back fast. I’m a little surprised but he was great.”

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt | December 27, 2013