There was never any doubt, but Ashton Gibbs, who missed the past three games with a knee injury, will play against St. John’s (16-9, 8-5) on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
“I was probably the happiest man in the world when they gave me the OK to play,” Gibbs said. “I’m feeling good.”
The 6-foot-2 junior guard suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee against Cincinnati on Feb. 5. He took part in his first full-contact practice this afternoon. Gibbs said he didn’t feel any discomfort after the practice and following a visit with Pitt trainer Tony Salesi, the West Orange, N.J. native was cleared to play.
“I went all-out (at practice),” he said. “I felt good. It’s not sore or anything. It feels normal. (Salesi) told me everything was fine. …It’s close to 100 percent. I can feel it a little bit, but it’s nothing major.”
Gibbs said he doesn’t know if there is a limit on his playing time or if he will start or come off the bench Saturday. Coach Jamie Dixon was not available for comment after Pitt’s practice and Gibbs’ subsequent visit with the Pitt trainers.
Gibbs, who said he might wear a small brace or tape his knee as a precaution, followed a rehabilitation that consisted of icing the knee, riding a bike and strengthen his quadriceps.
The former Seton Hall Prep star said he had never missed a game due to injury in college or high school.
“The first time I’ve ever been out in my life,” he said. “Just watching was the hardest part, but I got through it.”