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January 25, 2014

T.J. Warren set to return against Georgia Tech

NC State will be regaining the scoring ability of star sophomore small forward T.J. Warren for Sunday's home ACC game against Georgia Tech.

Warren previously missed NC State's 65-56 victory over Maryland last Monday after spraining his ankle against Duke a week ago. The 6-pound-8, 215-pound Warren ranks eighth in the nation with 22.2 points per game, and only Creighton senior forward Doug McDermott plays in a power conference among the players above him.

"I think he is getting better," NCSU coach Mark Gottfried said. "We anticipate him playing. I'm not exactly sure he is 100 percent but certainly a lot better than he was the other day."

NC State has been bitten by the injury and flu bug of late with freshman power forward Lennard Freeman missing the Duke game with his own ankle sprain. Sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis also had a bout with illness that curtailed his availability in the one-point loss at Wake Forest. Gottfried pointed out that Freeman is also not back to 100 percent, but he did play against the Terrapins.

NCSU went through a similar situation last year when star point guard Lorenzo Brown suffered an ankle sprain against Virginia and missed two full games. He returned but couldn't regain his pre-injury three-point shooting touch, finishing the season 7 of 38 (18.4 percent) over the final 12 games.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but I think he [Warren] will play himself through it," Gottfried said. "Sometimes, there isn't a lot that you can do with it. He has been getting a lot of treatment obviously. I think he'll be all right."

NC State took a couple of days off this week, including Friday, giving all of the players a chance to rest up. Not having a mid-week game proved to be a break for the Wolfpack.

"Next we aren't going to be able to [take days off] because of our schedule," Gottfried said. "He had some practice time, but held him some out of the live drills on Wednesday and Thursday. He has been in the training room a lot. It has been a good week not having to play."

NC State redshirt junior wing Ralston Turner exploded 23 points and five three-pointers in the win over Maryland. Gottfried said they'll know sometime Sunday morning if the lineup will get reshuffled to include both Turner and Warren.

"I think Ralston, T.J. and Desmond [Lee], all three of those guys, and Desmond can generate poitns in different ways — from the foul line and the way he attacks the basket is terrific," Gottfried said. "Ralston has been knocking down some jumpers. We need all three of those guys.

"We'll see tomorrow [on the starting lineup]. I'm not concerned with who starts, but I think we need all three of those guys ready to play."

Georgia Tech has been battling its own injuries. Star sophomore power forward Robert Carter and freshman point guard Travis Jorgenson are both out with different knee injuries. Carter has a torn meniscus and Jorgenson suffered an ACL tear four games into the season.

Senior forward Jason Morris (concussion) returned to action against Boston College on Tuesday, but sophomore guard Solomon Poole has missed four straight games due to migraines.

The Yellow Jackets start a trio of seniors, including two fifth-year seniors in the post in center Daniel Miller and Kammeon Holsey. Tennessee transfer Trae Golden, who had 24 points and four three-pointers in the 68-60 win over Boston College, holds things together on the perimeter. GT brings a 11-8 overall mark and 2-4 in the ACC.

"With Holsey and Miller inside, you have two really capable scorers," Gottfried said. "I like their experience and their age. With Trae Golden coming in, and he got the waiver to play right away, and that changed things for them. He is a terrific point guard. They are going to do a lot of things well offensively."

Mark Gottfried audio press conference (6:44)

Ralston Turner audio interview (6:51)

Desmond Lee audio interview (3:38)

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