Miami Hurricanes’ Bruce Brown will be in uniform to start of NCAA Tournament

Bruce Brown celebrates with fans after the Hurricanes' win over 10th-ranked Duke. (Miami Herald)

Bruce Brown celebrates with fans after the Hurricanes’ win over 10th-ranked Duke last year. (Miami Herald)

[What’s the future for Miami basketball?]

[Loyola a trendy upset pick over UM]

[Get ready for an intense spring football QB battle]

It was readily apparent Sunday evening that Bruce Brown’s season was finished.

It still might be. But it won’t look like that when TV cameras pan over to the Miami bench during Thursday’s first-round game against Loyola-Chicago in Dallas (3:10 p.m., truTV).

Jim Larranaga, addressing reporters Tuesday before the team left for the airport, shared some surprising news:

“For those of you who don’t know,” he said, “it’s going to be a shock for everybody, Bruce Brown will be dressing come Thursday. He won’t play, but he wants to be in uniform.”

Brown, out since Jan. 30 with a stress fracture on the side of his left foot, said at the ACC Tournament he hoped to play again this year. He had a pin surgically inserted into his fifth metatarsal in early February. He has worn a walking boot since, watching Miami go 7-4 in 11 games without him. On Selection Sunday, the normally energetic Brown appeared a bit subdued.

He had a check-up Monday. It must have gone well.

“The first thing is, we’ve got to play well enough to win the game,” Larranaga said when asked about Brown’s potential availability beyond Thursday. “Then after that, you make decisions one day at a time.”

Two days earlier, Larranaga strongly suggested Brown was done for the year.

“He hasn’t played in six weeks,” Larranaga said Sunday. “It’ll take him six weeks to rehab the foot. You go to the NCAA tournament and you play Bruce Brown, you think he’ll play hard? You’re darn right, and that would that pressure on the danger of him reinjuring it. There’s no chance he will play Thursday.”

Asked Sunday if Brown could return for the NCAA Tournament at all, should Miami make a run, Larranaga said this:

“Let me put it this way: If Bruce decides to come back next year for his [junior] year, then we’ll plan on playing him.”

At the time of his injury, Brown, an NBA draft prospect, was averaging 11.4 points per game, second on the team, and led the Hurricanes with 7.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists.

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