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NCAA basketball: Georgetown's Chris Wright will return for the NCAA tournament

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 13, 2011; D03

The Georgetown men's basketball team has received its first bit of good news in more than two weeks: point guard Chris Wright will play in the NCAA tournament.

Wright was cleared by doctors Saturday and will resume practicing fully with his teammates Monday at McDonough Arena. It will be the senior's first practice with contact since he suffered a fractured bone in his left hand Feb. 23 in the Hoyas' loss to Cincinnati.

"It's consistent with what we were told," Georgetown Coach John Thompson III said. "We had anticipated him being able to start full practice this week and anticipated him being able to play on Thursday."

Thompson said Wright is not experiencing any pain, has been dribbling with both hands "for a few days" and won't be required to wear any protection on his hand. Wright had surgery on his hand on Feb. 24.

"He's a senior," Thompson said. "He's as tough and competitive as they come. From the day doctors allowed him to begin cardio [conditioning], he's been doing as much as he could to keep his wind up. So I don't anticipate any drop-off."

"It's a break, so once it is healed it is healed," the coach added. "I don't know that our medical staff won't decide to give him additional protection. We aren't at that point yet. But the doctor said he will not require anything."

Starting with the loss to Cincinnati, the Hoyas are 0-4 without Wright, including a 17-point loss to Connecticut in their first game in the Big East tournament on Wednesday. Meantime, the offense - among the nation's most efficient when Wright was healthy - has sputtered, averaging 51.1 points per game and shooting 33.9 percent.

Wright, the Hoyas' second-leading scorer, is averaging 13.1 points, 5.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

Some projections had Georgetown slipping as far as a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. News of Wright's return, though, could sway the selection committee to give the Hoyas a better position when the field of 68 is revealed Sunday evening.

Thompson said he had not spoken to anyone on the committee as of Saturday afternoon.

"What it means relative to our performance as of late, what it means relative to our seeding, I'll let the selection committee sift through that," he said. "But there's no doubt that we are a better/different team when Chris Wright is in the lineup, and he's going to be in the lineup for the NCAA tournament."

Wright broke the third metacarpal bone on his left (non-shooting) hand in a collision with a Cincinnati player. He had surgery the following day, resumed shooting a few days later and began participating in non-contact team drills a week ago.

It's expected that he'll speak to reporters Sunday.

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