Nothing is official, and certainly things can change before the Colorado men's basketball team hits the floor Thursday night at Cal.

Still, it looks as if McKinley Wright's return is imminent.

The Buffaloes' sophomore point guard practiced once again Tuesday and, barring any setbacks, Wright is likely to return to the lineup against the Golden Bears after a one-game absence due to a left shoulder injury.

"He had a good, crisp workout (Monday). Today, he's better," CU head coach Tad Boyle said after Tuesday's workout. "He's playing with a brace and he's adjusting to that a little bit. Hopefully he'll be in the lineup and be good. We don't know that for sure yet. We'll take it day by day. But he did practice (Tuesday) and looked good."

Wright suffered a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder in the Buffs' first post-holiday workout in late December, but he played through the injury during CU's first three Pac-12 Conference games. However, in the first half of the Jan. 12 home loss against Washington, Wright got the shoulder tangled up during a scrum in the lane and suffered a dislocation.

Wright returned to practice late last week but felt he wasn't quite ready to go for Sunday's loss at Utah. After being forced to watch from the bench as CU fell behind by 28 points against the Utes — Wright said it was the first time he has missed a game since his freshman year of high school — the Buffs' floor general is eager to help try and lift his squad out of a tailspin that has seen CU lose six times in the past eight games.


"I'm feeling good," Wright said. "At Utah I didn't want to rush coming back, so I decided to take a couple more days to help my body get back healthy. I'm feeling good. I'm going to still try and be aggressive when I do play. I just try to take care of this injury. It's not a small injury. It's something I have to pay attention to. I'm feeling good and ready to go for Cal Thursday."

Wright is the Buffs' leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and also is averaging 5.3 assists per game. Despite a .250 mark from 3-point range, Wright still sports an impressive overall field goal percentage of .510. Wright also is a solid rebounder, ranking third on the squad at 4.9 per game, but Boyle squashed the idea that Wright and a shoulder that may not be 100 percent the rest of the season should curtail any aggressiveness inside.

Wright has spent the past few practices adjusting to the brace that likely will protect his left shoulder the remainder of the season.

"To me, you play or you don't play," Boyle said. "Now, he has to understand what he can and can't do. Certainly in practice, there are certain drills. We did a rebounding drill today and we had him sit out of it. We did a take-charge drill and we had him sit out of it. But other than that, when we're going up-and-down and we're playing, he's in there.

"He's going to have to make the slight adjustments and nuances, but in terms from a coaching standpoint, his responsibilities don't change."

Pat Rooney: or