Texas center Cameron Ridley could return to the Longhorns' lineup as soon as this week's Big 12 tournament, coach Shaka Smart told ESPN.com, adding he is "really, really optimistic" that the senior will be back for the NCAA tournament.
"It depends on how he responds, but he's not definitely out [for the Big 12 tournament],'' Smart said. "It all depends on how he does and how he feels later this week."
Ridley has not played since breaking a bone in his foot during practice Dec. 28, missing the past 20 games.
After meeting with doctors Monday morning, Ridley was cleared to resume some basketball activities. Smart did not expect Ridley to jump directly into full practice but that doctors were positive with his progress.
The fourth-seeded Longhorns open Big 12 tournament play against Baylor on Thursday.
Ridley was averaging a career-high 12.7 points and 10 rebounds before the injury.
"We're excited and hopeful about him coming back very soon,'' Smart said.