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January 14, 2014 at 3:44 AM

Morning links: Cal’s Jabari Bird returns to practice; expects to play against Washington

California’s touted freshman Jabari Bird, who missed the past four games due to an ankle injury, is expected to play in Wednesday’s Pac-12 home opener against Washington.

Bird and the UW share a little history. The Huskies finished second in the recruiting race for the 6-6, shooting guard and McDonald’s All-American. He’s started nine of Cal’s first 12 games and averaged 11.3 points before suffering the injury Dec. 22 at Creighton.

California coach Mike Montgomery told the San Jose Mercury News: “He practiced hard today … didn’t limp. He pretty much looked as if he wasn’t worried about it. There’s probably some rust there. I anticipate him getting better every day.”

It’s a short turnaround for the Huskies. They played Sunday and took Monday off. They’ll practice at Alaska Airlines Arena this morning before flying to the Bay Area for Wednesday’s 8 p.m. game at California.

Washington will then drive to Stanford and spend the rest of the week in Palo Alto, Calif. before Saturday’s 8 p.m. contest against the Cardinal.

TUESDAY MORNING LINKS:

— The situation at Stanford seems pretty simple. If the Cardinal make the NCAA tournament, then coach Johnny Dawkins keeps his job. If Stanford misses the tournament for the sixth straight year, then Dawkins isn’t likely to return.

— Nice story in the Newark Star-Ledger on C.J. Wilcox, who doesn’t regret last year’s decision when he opted against entering the NBA draft and returned to Washington for what’s shaping up to be a special senior year.

— No. 21 Colorado is still coming to grips with losing junior star Spencer Dinwiddie, who suffered a season-ending knee injury.

— In a span of a week, Utah went from the team with the No. 1 field goal percentage in the nation to squad that struggles to score 46 points.

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