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Javorn Farrell could return to Minuteman lineup this season

  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Javorn Farrell of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kadeem Pantophlet of Duquesne Tuesday at the Mullins Center.

    JERREY ROBERTS
    Javorn Farrell of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kadeem Pantophlet of Duquesne Tuesday at the Mullins Center. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Javorn Farrell, left, of the University of Massachusetts walks with teammate Chaz Williams after their 74-64 loss to Stanford in the NIT on March 27 in New York. Farrell is healing faster than expected from offseason ankle surgery. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Javorn Farrell, left, of the University of Massachusetts walks with teammate Chaz Williams after their 74-64 loss to Stanford in the NIT on March 27 in New York. Farrell is healing faster than expected from offseason ankle surgery. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) Purchase photo reprints »

  • JERREY ROBERTS<br/>Javorn Farrell of the University of Massachusetts, right, drives to the basket against Kadeem Pantophlet of Duquesne Tuesday at the Mullins Center.
  • Javorn Farrell, left, of the University of Massachusetts walks with teammate Chaz Williams after their 74-64 loss to Stanford in the NIT on March 27 in New York. Farrell is healing faster than expected from offseason ankle surgery. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The University of Massachusetts senior is healing faster than expected from offseason ankle surgery, which was originally expected to sideline him for the entire 2012-13 season.

If that rate of recovery continues, he could rejoin the men’s basketball team this season instead of taking a redshirt.

“It depends on how the rehab goes and when they clear me. So far, the rehab has gone pretty well. I haven’t had any setbacks yet,” said Farrell, who is out of the walking boot he’d been wearing since the early August surgery. “If I could play a considerable amount of the season, I would play. I’d have to start practicing and working my way back into game shape. That in itself is a process. But if I could get myself back to where I need to be by a certain point in the season, maybe the conference schedule, I’d definitely look into doing that. If not I wouldn’t mind sitting out the year.”

Kellogg said he’d welcome whichever path Farrell wanted to go.

“Javorn and I have spent quite a bit of time talking about keeping that option open, more for him. If things are going well he could come in and give us a boost. I think we could use him. That kind of boost when everyone is getting tired in January might work out nicely,” Kellogg said. “He’s a kid who is on line to graduate. He has a bright future playingwise and also in the real world. If you’re already going to graduate and you have a chance to be part of a special season and you want to get on to the next part of your life, it might be not that tough a call. It’s about how he feels physically.”

Farrell, who will certainly have professional opportunities overseas, wouldn’t have to wait an extra year to start them if he returned this year. However, he could risk them if he returned too quickly.

“It was a somewhat serious surgery. I don’t want to jeopardize my basketball playing days for a couple of games. I feel like I can still play basketball after I finish school. I don’t want to jeopardize making a little bit of money for three or four games,” he said. “I’ll make the decision when the time comes based on how my foot and body feel. My ankle is something that’s been bothering me for two years. I just want to get back to normal. When I feel like I can play and do everything at a high level, I’ll make a decision.”

MORGAN CLOSE TO 100 PERCENT — Minuteman junior guard Jesse Morgan doesn’t expect to be affected much by his offseason wrist an injury when UMass opens its season Nov. 13 at 10 a.m. against Harvard at the Mullins Center.

“The day I got back I really started to try to pay it no mind,” Morgan said. “I think I’m close. It’s about strengthening it and getting it stronger than it was before. I’m doing my exercises and my therapy. I’m just continuing to get the work in and work on my shot.”

Kellogg said Morgan has looked good throughout the preseason.

“He’s been great. He’s got another gear right now as he works himself into the shape he was in at the end last year. But I feel good about where he’s at and I know he can take his game to another level,” Kellogg said. “He’s shooting well. He’s playing tough. He’s competing. He’s getting back into the role of being one of the best defenders in the league. He looks like an older, more mature player out there. It’s just getting back to the comfort level of where we were at the end of last year.”

Morgan was the Minutemen’s backup point guard in addition to being the starting shooting guard last year. While he still does drills at point in practice, he’ll be almost exclusively off the ball, which is his preference, with freshman Trey Davis expected to spell starter Chaz Williams when he needs to come out. But Morgan said if he’s needed, he’ll be ready.

“Whatever I have to do to help my team,” he said.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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