Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood returns to practice Saturday

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood returned to practice Saturday for her first full-scale session of the season. <p> The freshman guard from Pomona, California, returned to Knoxville on Friday night after taking an unauthorized trip home Tuesday. <p> Wiley-Gatewood will not dress out for Sunday's DePaul game and also will not travel to Louisiana Tech. Coach Pat Summitt had not yet decided on her status for subsequent games, but a lot depends on how quickly she is able to get ready to play.

"Right now the priority is to get her in shape, and obviously we're three days behind," Summitt said, "and also get her a lot of reps. So with that said I have not made a decision (about total game suspension.) ... Wait and see. She has to get ready to play. She's not ready right now. She doesn't have the endurance. She's not as familiar with all of our offenses and defenses. She's got a lot of catching up to do."

Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood has been out since mid-October with a severe case of patellar tendonitis. She also has small tears in the patella, which causes inflammation and pain. She had been held out of practices to rest and rehab the knee but was supposed to be back this week for limited work and then a full-scale practice Friday. She left campus Tuesday night and flew to California for personal reasons.

She missed three practices - Wednesday, an individual session Thursday that had to be canceled due to her absence and Friday - and a math exam on Wednesday. The exam can be taken at a makeup session, Summitt said. Wiley-Gatewood only missed one exam.

The next couple of weeks will determine if she can play this season without her knee swelling or causing considerable pain. That is why it is imperative for her to be on the court. If the knee doesn't hold up, Wiley-Gatewood will have to consider a redshirt season.

Saturday was her first complete session with the team. She shot the ball well and made some outstanding passes while running the offense in the half-court.

"I thought she had a good practice today," Summitt said Saturday. "She's a natural at the point position. You see that, and you're even more disappointed" that she left the team without permission. "She felt like she needed to go home, and she went home."


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