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UCLA Men’s Basketball Weekly Presser: TJ Leaf Will Return This Weekend

Head Coach Steve Alford discusses injury news and the upcoming Pac 12 tournament.

Arizona State v UCLA Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Right away, the media jumped in with the question we all want answered: what’s up with TJ? Head Coach Steve Alford said he is progressing nicely, will ease back into practice today, and is fully anticipated to play Thursday. Phew.

After taking two days off to regroup, the team is looking to the next game against the winner of the Washington/Southern Cal game on Wednesday (approximately 8:30 pm/PT). Three UCLA coaches will be attending the game in order to get last minute prep work in before Thursday’s game. Alford admitted that the road to the championship is tough, but, luckily, the team played there earlier in the season, so they won’t be on entirely unfamiliar territory. The players are aware of who they are up against and are doing the things they need to do to continue being a great team. Unfortunately, the team’s practice slots in the arena are early in the morning, and it looks like the Bruins will opt out of those practices (which are only 25-minute slots) to allow the team to get the most rest possible.

This time of year is always exciting for players and fans alike, and coaches are no different. Alford is really looking forward to this time of year because he truly believes we have a great team that will be successful in both tournaments.

On the injury front, Alford was asked about personnel on the court and whether GG benefited from TJ being out since he was able to get more playing time in for the last two games. While the full intent is to get TJ back in the game, GG has been able to get more minutes on the court, which would obviously help anyone get better. He was more aggressive and while he missed a few shots, he definitely showed improvement against the Washington schools.

Here is the full video, courtesy of UCLA Athletics:

And here is Bryce Alford, Thomas Welsh, and Isaac Hamilton, courtesy of UCLA Athletics:

Go Bruins!