D.J. Williams back with Illini following leave of absence

Illini sophomore forward D.J. Williams will be available to play on Saturday

CHAMPAIGN - D.J. Williams is back with the Illinois basketball team and will be available to play on Saturday against Maryland, Illini head coach John Groce said Friday.

Williams will practice with the team on Friday.

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Illinois announced Wednesday that the sophomore forward is on a "temporary leave from the team due to personal reasons," according to a team spokesman. Williams was not at the State Farm Center for Illinois' game against Michigan on Wednesday. He and Groce met earlier this week and it was "mutually decided" that he would take an absence from the team.

Groce said he would not address the reasons for Williams' absence because they are "personal."

The 6-foot-7 forward played just four minutes at Indiana last Saturday, which was the fewest of any scholarship player on the roster. Williams has played just 9.9 minutes per game this season -- averaging 2.6 points and 1.1 rebound per game. Freshman forward Kipper Nichols seemingly has leaped Williams in the rotation. Nichols totaled a career-high 13 minutes and career-high eight rebounds in a career-high 19 minutes during Wednesday's 85-69 win over Michigan.

The former top-100 recruit has not played double-digit minutes in back to back games since early November.


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