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Arizona basketball: It’s ‘possible’ Parker Jackson-Cartwright returns for the Pac-12 opener

It is safe to say Jackson-Cartwright’s recovery from a high ankle sprain is ahead of schedule

2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational - Butler v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sean Miller continues to be optimistic about getting his starting point guard back sooner than originally anticipated.

The Arizona Wildcats head coach said Monday at his weekly presser that it is “possible” that Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who is currently out with a high ankle sprain, is back for the start of Pac-12 play against Cal on Dec. 30.

Miller also added that “it’s possible that isn’t the case”, but this new timetable emerges just two days after Miller hinted that Jackson-Cartwright was ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Jackson-Cartwright suffered the ankle injury on Nov. 30 against Texas Southern, and was initially deemed to be out for eight weeks, which would have slated him to return toward the middle of Pac-12 play.

Miller now says he “doesn’t believe it’s in the cards” for Jackson-Cartwright to miss that much time, so whether or not Jackson-Cartwright returns for the start of conference play, it has at least become clear that the point guard’s recovery is moving swiftly.

An early return would be significant for the Wildcats, seeing that they would not only be getting their best distributor back, they would also then have eight scholarship players available instead of the seven they are limited to at the moment.

Before the injury, Jackson-Cartwright was averaging 9.0 points and a team-high 6.0 assists per game, with an assist-to-turnover ratio better than three to one.

Arizona has kept things afloat in Jackson-Cartwright’s absence, posting a 4-1 record, but the team has been turning the ball over at a higher rate, and the team’s ceiling is simply higher with its starting point guard in the lineup.

Meanwhile, there is still no update on Allonzo Trier’s status, even though one Tucson reporter made a bold prediction about his return (which Trier subsequently shot down).

“Hopefully we can welcome our whole team back at some point,” Miller said.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire