There is a chance that Georgetown forward Alonzo Mourning, who has missed nine of the Hoyas' past 10 games with a strained arch in his left foot, will play in Saturday night's Big East contest at Boston College.

"Alonzo's situation is rapidly improving," Georgetown Coach John Thompson said yesterday. "We're using him sparingly in practices. It's still pretty much up in the air, and we'll still take a few days to determine {when he'll play again}. . . . We have increased his activity a little bit, and he's been feeling pretty good as a result of that."

Mourning suffered the injury in the 19th-ranked Hoyas' win over Duke on Dec. 5, landing awkwardly after making a victory-preserving block against Blue Devils forward Brian Davis. He missed games against Rice and St. Leo, then returned to score 11 points and grab five rebounds in 28 minutes during Georgetown's Dec. 15 loss to Texas-El Paso at Capital Centre; the 6-foot-10 junior hasn't played since.

Each time the Hoyas (10-4, 2-2 in the Big East) believed Mourning might be close to returning, he aggravated the injury. According to Thompson, school officials once thought surgery might be necessary, but a bone scan was performed and no stress fracture located.

Thompson has seemed genuinely perplexed about the injury at times, and both he and some Georgetown players have said Mourning was restless and distraught. He spent most of the past few weeks trying to remain in condition, and Thompson has fretted lately that Mourning might not be in game shape when he returns.

Mourning has averaged a team-best 19.8 points and 8.0 rebounds in five games this season. The Hoyas have gone 6-3 without him.