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Arizona freshman Daniel Batcho returns to practice after illness, but won’t play this season

Mike Mattina/Arizona Athletics

Freshman center Daniel Batcho returned to practice in limited fashion Monday but will not play this season, head coach Sean Miller reiterated Tuesday at his weekly press conference.

Batcho was away from the team for a week or so with an illness and is still recovering from knee surgery that he underwent in October to repair cartilage. The Paris native has been making good progress in his rehab, evidenced by the dunks he throws down in pregame warmups, but simply isn’t ready for live action yet (even though he could play without burning a year of eligibility).

“He doesn’t know our plays,” Miller said. “He hasn’t been in practice long enough. He just missed too much time.”

While Batcho’s debut is on hold, he could still be an important piece in Arizona’s future. The 6-foot-11 center was considered one of the best European prospects to go the college route when he committed to the Wildcats last spring.

“I think he could play both positions (center and power forward) for us,” Miller said in May. “He’s aggressive. He’s a very good defensive rebounder, adept at FIBA basketball where pick-and-roll and playing up and down, being able to defend pick-and-rolls, those are things that he’s been doing for a number of years. Hungry guy, a guy that loves the game. Really excited to have him.”