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Cliff Omoruyi to return vs. Wisconsin — What this means for Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights will get their freshman big man back after being sidelined with a sprained knee.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers received some good news on Friday as they prepared to take on ninth-ranked Wisconsin in Piscataway.

Cliff Omoruyi will suit up and is expected to get some playing time. The freshman center started the first six games of the season. He was injured during the Scarlet Knights’ victory over Illinois and has missed the last five games.

Omoruyi is is averaging 5.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season. He is shooting 72% from the field in six games. These numbers may not jump off the page but the importance of the 6-foot-11 freshman cannot be overlooked.

The Scarlet Knights have dealt with many injuries over their first 11 games. Players like Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr., among others, have been banged up all season. When looking at the roster for Rutgers, it is hard to find names that have not been bitten by the injury bug. Montez Mathis, Paul Mulcahy, and Myles Johnson seem like the only three that have made it to this point without complications.

Johnson is glad to have his fellow big back in the frontcourt. When Omoruyi went down, this put pressure on Johnson to stay on the floor. During Omoruyi’s five-game absence, teams have gotten comfortable against the Scarlet Knights when Johnson has gotten into foul trouble — especially Ohio State in their two meetings.

Rutgers played around with the idea of playing both Omoruyi and Johnson at the same time. This may take some time to get worked back into the game plan but we will see it at some point over the next few games.

The return of Omoruyi gives the Scarlet Knights some much-needed depth down low. For the first time this season, fans can watch a team that is completely healthy and it could not have come at a better time.

Rutgers is playing their first game of the season as an unbanked opponent and it is coming against the Badgers, who are coming off a blowout loss in Michigan on Tuesday. Having lost four of their last five and three in a row, Rutgers is looking for a statement victory in the Big Ten.