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Ayo Dosunmu to return against Ohio State

The Illini get their National Player of the Year candidate back.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN Ill. — Just a few days removed from the program’s biggest road win in history, the Illini will get Ayo Dosunmu back from injury to close out the regular season at Ohio State.

Illinois (19-6, 15-4 Big Ten) has proven that it can win without Dosunmu — beating Nebraska, No. 23 Wisconsin and No. 2 Michigan — as he has missed the last three games with a facial injury suffered in the Illini’s loss to Michigan State last week.

Dosunmu suffered a broken nose and was fitted for a facial mask to protect him, but the star guard still had some hurdles to clear in concussion protocol before he could return. He practiced a bit with the team this week, and is good to go for Saturday.

The news comes just days after the junior was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award. Dosunmu is the only player in the country averaging over 20 points, six rebounds and five assists per game and the Illini finally get their best player back on the court.

Dosunmu will join the Illini for Saturday’s contest against the No. 7 Buckeyes, and then get a few days off with the rest of the team before traveling to Indianapolis for the Big Ten tounrament — which begins Wednesday, but the Illini will not play until Friday afternoon because they have clinched the No. 2 seed and a double-bye.