"If he's able to practice next week, I think he'll be able to play in the C-USA tournament," Pastner said. ‘"If he doesn't practice next week, then I don't think he's gonna play in the C-USA tournament, because I just don't think it'll be enough time for us to really see if he can really help us."
Thomas is averaging 9.7 points per game and, at the time of his injury, was third on the team in minutes logged at over 26 a game.
A flap of cartilage in Thomas' ankle became dislodged in a non-contact drill last month. He was expected to miss two to three months, but the 6-foot-6 forward is no longer wearing a boot and his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule.
Pastner said he wouldn't insert Thomas back into the rotation, however, unless his ankle injury is entirely healed.
"With what we're playing for, we can't throw a guy in the game just for the heck of it," Pastner said. "Not for what's at stake. We'll know a lot more next week. If he practices and he's able to get in and do some things, I would say there's a great opportunity for him to probably, possibly play in the C-USA tournament."
The Tigers are 9-3 without Thomas. The C-USA tournament, which is being held at FedExForum this year, begins Mar. 6.