Source: Jim Calhoun planning for return

Updated: February 25, 2012, 6:04 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Coach Jim Calhoun's plan is to return to coaching Connecticut in the March 3 regular-season finale against Pittsburgh, assuming Monday's back surgery goes without a hitch, according to a source with knowledge of his situation.

Calhoun
Calhoun

Calhoun, who has been on medical leave of absence since Feb. 3 because of spinal stenosis, was told by his surgeon that he should feel immediate relief after recovery.

Calhoun said he has gone through 10 days of cortisone shots, and that walking and standing cause the most pain.

The surgery, in which a piece of a disk will be removed to relieve pressure on a nerve, is not as invasive as other alternatives.

Calhoun has penciled in his return for the Pitt game, at UConn, just three days before the Big East tournament begins March 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The concern is that he would be on the sideline in a vulnerable position less than a week after the surgery.

But multiple sources said Calhoun desperately wants to return to coaching this team.

Calhoun, who turns 70 in May, said two weeks ago that he does not want to retire. And multiple sources told ESPN.com that Calhoun wouldn't want to end his career in this manner, and would like to see the new basketball facility built before quitting.

The Huskies are 17-10 overall, 7-8 in the Big East. They are 3-3 in Calhoun's absence.

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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