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Pitt Vs. St. John's: Ashton Gibbs Returns For Matinee Against Red Storm

Pitt gets Ashton Gibbs back just in time for a big game against rising St. John's on Saturday. But right now, no one knows the capacity he'll be used ... not even him:

Gibbs said he doesn't know if there is a limit on his playing time or if he will start or come off the bench Saturday. Coach Jamie Dixon wasn't available for comment after Pitt's practice.

"Whether I come off the bench or whether I start, I’m just going to play my game," Gibbs said. "I think I will be able to start. I’m back to normal. It’s my job not to think about the injury."

Gibbs also admitted earlier this week that even though he'll play, he's not completely healthy:

"It's close to 100 percent," he said. "I can feel it a little bit, but it's nothing major at all. It's definitely close to 100 percent. I'll just keep taking it day by day, rest it, ice it and keep playing on it."

Pitt can't afford to let Gibbs reaggravate the injury, so I'm not sure if he'll play his usual 30+ minutes. But it will be nice to have him at least begin working his way back.

St. John's is 16-9 and, barring a total collapse, should make the NCAA tournament. The Red Storm are 8-5 in conference and one more win in the team's next five games will ensure they finish with a .500 Big East record. St. John's is a deep team and, with eight seniors, very experienced. That's part of the reason they were not only able to defeat both Duke and UConn, but beat them rather handily - the Red Storm beat Duke by 15 points and UConn by 17.

The Johnnies are led by guard Dwight Hardy, who averages just over 17 points per game. To make matters worse, he's playing his best basketball this year and is on an incredible hot streak. He was named the conference's player of the week last week and is averaging 28 points per game over his past four games. Three of those games have been victories for St. John's and Hardy is really hitting his stride.

Even though Madison Square Garden is like a second home to Pitt, they'll need to play a pretty strong game to beat the Red Storm.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.