CHAMPAIGN - Illinois basketball finally got some good injury news on Wednesday as John Groce announced Jalen Coleman-Lands "will begin the process of progressing back to basketball activities" following his latest evaluation by team physicians.
While this news does not mean Coleman-Lands will be ready for the start of the season in early November, it is encouraging news.
"There is no specific timeline set for his return," Illini basketball coach John Groce said. "We look forward to him returning to the court once fully healthy."
The freshman guard, ranked the No. 42 prospect in the Class of 2015 by Scout.com, suffered a stress fracture in his lower left leg and has been sidelined in a walking boot for about four months. He did not play with the team on its foreign trip to Europe and hasn't participated in team or individual workouts. But it appears the injury will not require surgery.
Wednesday's development means Coleman-Lands -- expected to be one of the Illini's top bench options and better scoring options -- is cleared to start basic recovery workouts, including light lifting and conditioning drills. A team spokesman called Coleman-Lands' recovery "a multi-week process" to return to team practices.
First-year strength and condiitioning coach Adam Fletcher will work with team athletic trainer Paul Schmidt to monitor Coleman-Lands' progress.
The Illini start practice this weekend. The Illini play their lone exhibition game on Nov. 8 vs. Illinois-Springfield at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield. Their opener is Nov. 13 vs. North Florida in Springfield.