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Can Tim Williams’ return spark New Mexico?

The Lobo forward is nearing a return to the court.

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

With one game remaining in the regular season for the New Mexico Lobos, coach Craig Neal received some uplifting news about the status of his senior forward.

Tim Williams, who was averaging 17.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 20 appearances this year, has dealt with a nagging foot injury that sidelined him indefinitely after a 17-point loss to Nevada on January 28. Williams is no longer in a walking boot and has been cleared to play by the team doctor.

It is possible that Williams could return to the floor for Saturday’s season finale against San Diego State, but it will be highly unlikely that Williams plays a substantial amount of minutes.

The return of Williams could be pivotal for the Lobos, which have understandably struggled in his absence. In 20 games with Williams, New Mexico recorded a +3.49 efficiency margin, good for 122nd in the country. Without him, UNM is just -5.77 in efficiency margin, which is just 230th in the nation. This is a completely different squad without its best forward.

New Mexico hosts San Diego State at 7pm Pacific on Saturday. The winner will clinch a #5 seed for the Mountain West Tournament and receive a first-round bye.