UCLA basketball: Malcolm Lee's status uncertain for Villanova
UCLA junior guard Malcolm Lee could resume basketball activities Monday if his sprained left ankle continues to improve, possibly putting him on track to play against Villanova on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in an NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal.
Lee said Friday the swelling in his ankle had already substantially subsided, though he continues to wear a protective walking boot. The Bruins are scheduled to hold a light workout Monday before departing for New York, and Coach Ben Howland said Lee would need to participate in a practice before playing again.
"I want to try to get back as soon as possible," said Lee, who has been sidelined since the first half of UCLA's victory over Pepperdine on Monday, "but I don't want to get back too early where I hurt it more."
Lee said he has been getting treatment twice a day, including light strengthening exercises and massage designed to relieve the swelling.
The injury occurred when Lee was pushed from behind and then rolled his ankle at the same time a Pepperdine player fell on it.
"It was kind of like a freak accident," Lee said. "I heard the joints crack and then when they took the tape off I was swollen, and I usually never swell" after ankle injuries.
Howland jokingly blamed junior guard Lazeric Jones, saying if Jones had properly boxed out his man and not allowed him to secure a rebound that allowed play to continue on Pepperdine's end of the floor, Lee never would have sustained the injury.
"You can question Zeke on it," Howland said, referring to Jones by his nickname. "He's responsible."
Howland also said that freshman guard Matt Carlino, who has been sidelined since Nov. 8 by a concussion, continued to experience symptoms related to his injury.
-- Ben Bolch