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CHAMPAIGN — Ayo Dosunmu is traveling with Illinois men’s basketball for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. matchup at Rutgers, but Illini coach Brad Underwood won't yet commit to his star guard’s playing status.

Underwood spoke to media following Friday’s team practice at Ubben Basketball Complex, fielding plenty of questions about Dosunmu’s health after the sophomore suffered a left leg injury late in Tuesday’s home loss to Michigan State.

Dosunmu underwent an MRI, which Underwood said Wednesday revealed no structural damage. But that doesn’t guarantee Dosunmu suits up for the season’s second game between No. 22 Illinois (16-8, 8-5 Big Ten) and Rutgers (17-8, 8-6).

“His status will just be day-to-day,” Underwood said. “As long as there’s no injury, it’s day-to-day.”

When asked if Dosunmu has practiced since his left leg buckled awkwardly beneath him while trying to set up a game-winning shot in the closing seconds versus Michigan State, Underwood initially said, “No.”

“I shouldn’t say that,” he continued. “He’s done some work.”

Dosunmu produced a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds in the Illini’s 54-51 triumph over the Scarlet Knights on Jan. 11 at State Farm Center.

The 6-foot-5 Dosunmu leads the Illini in scoring, averaging 15.8 points, and assists, averaging 3.3 per game. On Thursday, he was named as one of 30 midseason candidates for the 2020 Naismith Trophy given to the player of the year.

Underwood didn’t express concern over the possibility Dosunmu may not be able to follow up on that performance.

“We’ve played without him before,” Underwood said. “That’s all part of the game of basketball is dealing with guys that can’t go, and we’ll see how that goes (Saturday) and as he moves forward. His main recourse is rehab and massage and (strength and conditioning coach Adam) Fletch(er) and (athletic trainer) Paul Schmidt, so we’ll deal with that as we get closer to game time.”

Underwood did confirm Dosunmu will be with the program in Piscataway, N.J., saying “he’s a part of our team. There’s no doubt about that.”

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CHAMPAIGN — The biggest question surrounding the Illinois men's basketball team at the moment: when will Ayo Dosunmu play again?

Illinois coach Brad Underwood said Friday morning after practice that the sophomore guard and leading scorer is "day to day" and didn't commit to whether Dosunmu will play at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.

Dosunmu suffered a leg injury during the closing seconds of Tuesday night's 70-69 home loss for the 22nd-ranked Illini against Michigan State, slipping on the court in front of the Illinois bench at State Farm Center while driving to the basket for the potential game-winning shot.

An MRI performed on Wednesday revealed no structural damage, but Illinois hasn't provided any more specifics about the type of injury or how much time Dosunmu might miss.

Underwood did say Friday morning that Dosunmu will travel with the team and has done a few things in practice the last two days.

The 6-foot-5 Dosunmu leads the Illini in scoring, averaging 15.8 points, and assists, averaging 3.3 per game. On Thursday, he was named as one of 30 midseason candidates for the 2020 Naismith Trophy given to the player of the year.

Illinois (16-8, 8-5 Big Ten) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak it will try to end at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers (17-8, 8-6) before Illinois plays at No. 13 Penn State (19-5, 9-4) at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

 

Prep Sports Coordinator

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).