Fields Getting Closer, Not Ready Yet

Pitt junior point guard Levance Fields isn't ready to come back yet, but he could practice during 5-on-5 work Sunday and still be able to play again in the Big East game Friday night at Marquette.

Levance Fields has been out since suffering a broken bone in his foot Dec. 29, 2007 at Dayton. Pittsburgh (18-5) plays host to Providence (13-10, 4-7) Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Petersen Events Center.

"We generally go harder two days before a game,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "There's been some talk about two days on and one off for Levance. ... So, that's something we'll have to look at, but we generally go harder and a little longer two days before a game and then a little lighter the day before a game.

"But Levance, we're just going to see how he feels now. He did a lot of stuff (Saturday) as far as shooting, conditioning, the pool. So, I know you want to have something planned out, but there's going to be some things that come up that will determine what we do like soreness and things like that.''

Fields was unavailable for comment Saturday, but senior Ronald Ramon -- who has taken over at point guard since Fields' injury -- was confident that his back-court mate would be ready to come back soon.

"We watched film and individually took some shots, and (Fields) is just trying to get back into the basketball motion,'' Ramon said. "So, he's feeling well, and as soon as he feels that he's ready to go and as soon as he gets cleared, I'm sure we'll see him back on the court. ... We're shooting for (Marquette).

"But it all depends how he feels on the court and how well he can run and compete. Levance is a competitor, and he wants to go out there and be 100 percent and not put his mind on whether or not he'll hurt himself again. So, he needs to be at that level, so he can go full-speed when he comes back.''

Dixon, who has downplayed a return date for Fields from the outset, noted that there likely would be soreness in various muscles for the player just because he hasn't used them on the court in some six weeks.

"I think it's going to be day-to-day,'' Dixon said. "And as we know, anything can from day-to-day. How he feels one day, can be different the next. ... He hasn't done any 5-on-5, and it'll be his decision when he can play. And I expect there to be some ups and downs that will occur when you haven't played in a while.

"Doing different things, there's going to be soreness and fatigue, and different things are going to come into play. Other parts of his body will be affected since he hasn't been doing these things for a while. So, there isn't a set plan. ... We don't want him to come back too soon, and we made that clear to him.

"We rely on Tony (trainer Salesi) and the doctors have the final say,'' Dixon added. "But they say that where he's at right now is where he should be. So, we've just got to play it by ear for now. ... We've got to get him back to practice first, and that's the first step, going at it 5-on-5.''

Dixon also noted that junior forward Cassin Diggs, who has not played the past 14 games, still is bothered by a hip injury that hasn't improved at all.

"In fact, it's gotten worse in where it's at,'' Dixon said. "So, surgery is still a viable option and something that will be looked at.''

Pitt has eight regular-season games remaining before the Big East Tournament March 12-15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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