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Arizona basketball: Sean Miller hints Parker Jackson-Cartwright is ahead of schedule in return from ankle injury

Sean Miller seemed optimistic about getting Jackson-Cartwright back sooner than originally anticipated

NCAA Basketball: UC Irvine at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the No. 19 Arizona Wildcats avoided a late-game collapse against the Texas A&M Aggies in Houston, Sean Miller was optimistic about the return of starting point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who is currently sidelined with a high-ankle sprain.

Miller hinted that Jackson-Cartwright is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

“We’re anxious to get him back. I think he’s moving in the direction of coming back,” Miller told reporters. “I’m hoping that we can have a couple good weeks here, we can get him back more towards the beginning of the conference season.”

Jackson-Cartwright suffered the ankle injury on Nov. 30 against Texas Southern, and Miller originally said the junior was going to be out for eight weeks.

Eight weeks, at that time, would have put Jackson-Cartwright out until the middle of Pac-12 play, so it seems the point guard is healing faster than anticipated, seeing that Miller now thinks he could return at the beginning of conference play.

Of course, the importance of Jackson-Cartwright’s return cannot be overstated.

Not only is he the team’s best distributor — he posted an assist-to-turnover ratio over three to one before the injury — he would also give the Wildcats an eighth scholarship player, extending the team’s depth, which is non-existent at the moment.

Still, high-ankle sprains are tricky and often linger, so Arizona has to be careful that Jackson-Cartwright isn’t returning too soon.

The Wildcats (10-2) have seen their turnover numbers increase without Jackson-Cartwright, though they did have just nine on Saturday against Texas A&M.

Jackson-Cartwright was averaging 9.0 points and 6.0 assists per game before injuring his ankle. The point guard has missed Arizona’s last five games, in which the Wildcats have a 4-1 record.

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