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Arizona Wildcats WR Austin Hill cleared to practice

Arizona's leading receiver in 2012 has been cleared to return to practice

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

At Monday's weekly press conference, Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that star receiver Austin Hill has been cleared to return to practice.

"What I mean by practice is he can put on cleats, put on the pads, go through individuals," said Rodriguez.  "His doctor from home cleared him to take that next step."

"I don't know what that means as far as his availability to play yet."

"I don't make those decisions, the trainers and doctors do."

This is big news for the Arizona passing game, who already received a boost when David Richards returned for the Washington game after missing the first three games.

Hill has been out the entire 2013 season after tearing his ACL in the days leading up to the team's spring game, but has shown up on the team's injury report each and every week, keeping hope alive that he would be back at some point this season.

He also redshirted his true freshman year in 2010, and based on RichRod's history with the NCAA, it seems like he is willing to play him for just a couple games this year instead of applying for a medical waiver.

"You're talking about a guy that's one of the best in the league.  Austin's worked really, really hard.  He looks great.  Whenever we get him back, whether it be this year or next year, I think he'll be an even better player."

Hill led the Wildcats in receiving yards in 2012 with 1,364 yards, good for second-best in the conference.

As far as full contact goes, Rodriguez said that he's not sure about that, but no one on the team at this point is truly going full contact.

It sure would be a boost to the receiving group, who are really only getting production from Nate Phillips, Samajie Grant and Terrence Miller at this point.  David Richards has not been a factor recently, and Garic Wharton has been basically invisible out there.

"Austin's always a vocal guy in the room," said Miller.  "He's very good giving that post-experience, he's been there before, done that.  He's always been a help, especially to the young guys.  It definitely opens their eyes a little bit."

Just another thing to watch for as Arizona heads into the Oregon and Arizona State games before a probable bowl berth.