Shabazz Muhammad close to full recovery from shoulder strain

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The touted freshman might be healthy enough to play in the season opener — if the NCAA allows him.

Shabazz Muhammad's shoulder is close to full strength in time for Friday's opener, UCLA Bruins' coach Ben Howland said on Tuesday.

Whether or not that even matters remains to be seen, as the NCAA still hasn't cleared the touted freshman as eligible to play. The LA Times reported on Tuesday that the NCAA interviewed Muhammad's parents late last week.

Muhammad injured his shoulder in practice on Oct. 25 and was originally expected to miss anywhere from two to four weeks. During UCLA's basketball event "Pauley Madness" on Nov. 2, he was seen dunking during warmups.

After Tuesday's practice, Howland said Muhammad is day-to-day and was out running with the team in practice and partaking in shooting.

Even if Muhammad is healthy, he will have to wait for the NCAA to make a ruling on his case, which at this point has lasted more than a year.

UCLA opens the season at home on Friday against the Indiana State Sycamores from the Missouri Valley Conference.

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