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Illinois SF D.J. Williams returns to practice after taking temporary leave from team

Williams missed the team’s 85-69 win over Michigan on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Good news for John Groce and the Illinois Fighting Illini, as sophomore D.J. Williams returned to practice on Friday. The 6-foot-7 wing missed the team’s game against Michigan on Wednesday after he and Groce “mutually decided” that a temporary leave was in the best interest of both sides, causing speculation from media members and fans about a possible transfer. According to a team spokesman, Williams’ absence was due to “personal reasons.”

Williams, a former four-star prospect, is averaging 2.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in limited playing time this season (9.9 minutes per game).

Even better, Groce conveyed during a press conference that Williams will be available for Illinois’ next game on Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins. The coaches implemented a drastically different rotation in their latest victory, so perhaps there’s a chance Williams may be seeing more playing time going forward. Either way, it’s great to see that the Chicago native plans to remain with the Orange and Blue.