"Back from retirement," Bryce Alford said jokingly as Parker took a place near the baseline.
Parker rolled his eyes.
Parker's availability for Thursday's game against 11th-ranked
"Hopefully, we can get him back to some level in these two home games," Alford said. "We don't know yet."
Alford called the three-game stretch before the injury the best of Parker's career. In the two games without the junior center, UCLA lost to
Trainers indicated Parker's back is improving, Alford said. In practice Tuesday, Parker avoided stretches that would twist his back, and he pedaled a stationary bike during contact drills.
"My biggest concern with Tony would be conditioning," Alford said. "But he looks good."
Part way back
There was a new face at UCLA practice this week, a 6-foot-10 and 215-pound wing who glided through drills. Jonah Bolden was ruled a partial qualifier by the NCAA and won't play this season, but as of Monday he was cleared to practice and participate in team activities.
Bolden was a highly regarded recruit who has the size to play power forward and the skill to play guard. Scout.com ranked him as high as No. 25 in his recruiting class.
His presence would've added depth and versatility to a roster devoid of both. For example, shooting guard Isaac Hamilton has made only one of his last 17 shots, but Alford has little choice but to keep him in the lineup.
With Bolden playing the wing, that would have allowed Alford to bump Norman Powell to shooting guard to give Hamilton some relief.
UCLA will have to wait until next season for Bolden.
Asked whether he might bolt for the
On the level
At this point last season,
With a wave of young talent, Coach
Attendance is also lagging. USC's average home attendance of 3,548 ranks next to last in the Pac-12, ahead of
VS. NO. 11 UTAH
Where: Pauley Pavilion.
On the air: TV: ESPN2; Radio: 570.
Update: Even at full strength, the
Where: Galen Center.
On the air: TV: Fox Sports 1. Radio: 690.
Update: USC has lost six of its last seven games, including a 59-55 defeat at Oregon State on Saturday that extended the Trojans' losing streak to four. Colorado routed USC, 86-65, on Jan. 4 at Boulder, Colo.; the Trojans were without point guard Jordan McLaughlin in that game because of a shoulder injury. McLaughlin returned two games later and is averaging 12.4 points.