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Penn State Basketball: Watkins Available Against No. 13 Virginia Tech

by on November 26, 2018 3:00 PM

Penn State basketball could be getting a big lift on Tuesday night as coach Patrick Chambers told media members on Monday afternoon that center Mike Watkins will be available to play against No. 13 Virginia Tech.

Watkins has not suited up for the Nittany Lions since sustaining an injury against Michigan back in February, missing the rest of the regular season and all of Penn State's eventual NIT Championship run.

In addition, while Watkins has been physically cleared to play and has practiced with Penn State over the summer, off the field issues both legal and personal saw Watkins on the sideline for the opening games of the 2018 season.

When healthy and active, Watkins is among the best big men in the nation and the Big Ten, accounting for 157 career blocks and last season alone, 12 double-doubles. Watkins has been practicing, trailing and participating with Penn State all season in spite his lack of in-game action.

"Mike is Mike," junior forward Lamar Stevens said with a smile of Watkins on Tuesday when asked about how his teammate has been playing.

It remains to be seen how much time Watkins will get against the Hookies, almost a year removed from playing in an actual game. Chambers would not commit to saying Watkins would see the floor, calling him "available" but it's hard to imagine Watkins won't get at least some playing time in a pivotal non conference meeting.

"Mike has done everything he needs to do," Chambers said. "He's going to be a game time decision. He's doing everything he needs to do, for himself, academically, he's doing everything he needs to do. He's available for the game tomorrow."

Without Watkins, Penn State has leaned on John Harrar at the center spot with the sophomore averaging 4.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game so far this season.

Penn State takes the court Tuesday night at 7:00 PM on ESPN2.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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