RJ Luis expected to return to practice soon for St. John's basketball team

The St. John's basketball team should be getting the services of RJ Luis again after the sophomore wing was cleared to resume basketball activities.

Nov 25, 2023; Queens, New York, USA; St. John's guard RJ Luis (12) warms up prior to the game
Nov 25, 2023; Queens, New York, USA; St. John's guard RJ Luis (12) warms up prior to the game / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Conference play is officially here for the St. John's basketball squad and a major reinforcement could be coming.

RJ Luis has been cleared to return to basketball activities, Rick Pitino said on Tuesday afternoon, although his recent MRIs are "still showing a problem."

Luis has been out since late November as he deals with shin splints in both of his legs. The injury has been chronic for the talented sophomore, dealing with it since his freshman season at UMass, but had to be shut down after making his season debut against Holy Cross on November 25 after he was dealing with a broken hand since October 1.

The biggest hurdle that is facing the 6-foot-7 forward is getting into shape once he returns to practice since he has only been able to swim since he was shutdown, according to Pitino. The expectation is that Luis will return to practice next week.

The Hall of Famer estimated that he would be about three weeks away from returning, which puts him just behind the initial timeframe of a return on January 2 against Butler.

RJ Luis had approximately a 20-minute individual shooting session on Monday.

"We have to be careful because [the shin splints] could flare up again," Pitino added. "We just have to get him through the season."

"I'm not sure we are going to see the best of RJ this year, he's missed a lot of time, but next year I think he'll be ready to go."

Rick Pitino lamented the fact that St. John's did not put Luis in the walking boots while he was sidelined with his broken hand in the preseason and potentially could have avoided missing an extended amount of time with this injury.

"It's unfortunate because it could have been avoided, and it wasn't," Pitino said on Friday.

Luis had 14 points, four rebounds, and three steals on 6-of-12 shooting in his only game this season after averaging 11.5 points per contest last season.

Pitino has mentioned that RJ Luis was expected to play a multitude of positions this season and could have helped St. John's in its three losses with his size and offensive prowess.

The Red Storm (7-3) begin Big East play this week with two tough tests on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET, FoxSports1) against Xavier (6-5) and a trip to Hartford to play No. 5 UConn (10-1) on Saturday night (8:00 p.m. ET, FOX).

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