On the eve of the Rebels’ Mountain West tournament opener, both Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch participated in Wednesday’s practice.
Birch was a limited participant after missing practice the previous two days with a hip injury. Smith, who missed the team’s final two regular-season games with a concussion, was a full participant for the second straight day (Tuesday’s practice was closed to the media).
Head coach Dave Rice said he anticipates both will play against Wyoming on Thursday, though he noted that Birch still needs to be cleared by the medical staff.
Having both players back would be big for UNLV’s tournament chances. Birch, a junior center, is the reigning two-time MWC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-Conference second team after averaging 11.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game this season. Smith, a junior power forward, finished the 2013-14 campaign as one of the nation’s top rebounders at 11.0 per game while also chipping in 11.0 points.
Student Section Gearing Up for MWC Tourney
Roscoe Smith Cleared to Practice; Limited Participation on Monday
Hip Injury Sidelines Khem Birch
“Contrite” Bryce Dejean-Jones Returns to Practice
Bryce Dejean-Jones Reinstated
Follow Mike Grimala (@MikeGrimala) on Twitter for 24/7 Rebels updates.