Tucker back in starting five

Sophomore power forward expects to return to the starting lineup Saturday against Marquette

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Alando Tucker rehabbed his broken right foot for two months before he was cleared to play last week. The sophomore forward, though, had to wait less than two weeks before reentering Wisconsin's starting lineup.


Tucker, who was cleared to begin practicing Dec. 8, will start Saturday's contest against Marquette.


"I'm looking forward to starting," Tucker said. "That's what the lineup is right now so we can alter some of the quickness on our team to match some of theirs."


The 6-foot-5 Tucker will be inserted into the lineup at power forward, the position he started at for 27 games last year. Junior Mike Wilkinson, who has started at the ‘four' in each of the Badgers' seven games this season, will move to center, a position he has played frequently in his Wisconsin career. The rest of Wisconsin's starting five remains intact with guards Devin Harris, Freddie Owens and Boo Wade rounding out the lineup.


Andreas Helmigk, who started the past three games at center, averaging 6.0 points and 2.33 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per contest, will return to a reserve role, joining forwards Zach Morley and Ray Nixon and guard Clayton Hanson as top reserves.


"(The rotation) is pretty much going to be the same," Tucker said. "It is not like Andreas is not going to get any more minutes. He is still going to get key minutes. It is just we are trying to alter some of the quickness on our team to match theirs."


Tucker fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot while running ‘The Hill' at Elver Park Oct. 9, during preseason workouts. In his first game action of the year, Tucker played 12 minutes in Wisconsin's 73-57 win over UW-Green Bay Dec. 10 and tallied five points. Three days later, Tucker played 13 minutes, all in the second half, and scored 12 points while snagging six rebounds to help the Badgers defeat UW-Milwaukee 89-71.


The full week between the Milwaukee and Marquette games is helping Tucker regain his stamina.


"Basically right now it is just being able to get out there and complete plays and do as much as I can for the time that I can without my body hurting," Tucker said. "It's getting better. I'm getting a lot more air into my lungs. This is a great week for me because we have a lot of practice coming into the game."

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