LAS VEGAS -
Forward Andre Roberson has been cleared to play and will start Wednesday in Colorado's first-round Pac-12 Conference Tournament game, coach Tad Boyle said Tuesday afternoon.
Roberson, the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, has missed the Buffaloes' last two games with a viral illness. Boyle said the 6-7 junior was cleared to play Tuesday before the team left Boulder.
No. 5 seed CU faces No. 12 seed Oregon State at 3:30 p.m. MDT at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Beavers defeated the Buffs 64-58 last Saturday in the Coors Events Center.
After landing here Tuesday, the Buffs went immediately to practice at the Impact Academy, and Roberson was a full participant. "He looked good, he looked energetic (and had) fresh legs, live legs," Boyle said. "It's great to have him back."
On the team's charter flight to Las Vegas, Roberson, the nation's leading rebounder at 11.5 boards a game, said he "feels good" and gave a thumbs up about his physical condition. CU was 1-1 in the games he missed, defeating then-No. 19 Oregon 76-53 on Thursday night before losing to OSU.
After their near-45 minute workout upon arriving, the Buffs went to the Garden Arena for a mandatory shoot-around, after which Boyle briefly met with the media.
Asked how much Roberson would play on Wednesday, Boyle answered, "We'll start him, absolutely. We'll watch him obviously and ask him how he's feeling and watch his wind. He's probably not in tip-top shape. But it hasn't been too long."
He said Roberson's presence on the floor would give the Buffs an emotional lift: "I think so. Our guys know how important Andre is to us and they know how good of a player he is on the floor. We worked a little bit of zone offense just in the half hour on the floor and he got two or three offensive rebounds, which is the one thing he brings."
In addition to his 11.5 rebound average, Roberson contributes 10.8 points a game. He has 36 career doubles, including 11 this season, and currently leads CU in steals (63) and blocked shots (38).
In addition to being the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year by the league's coaches, he was selected to the all-conference team and the all-defensive team.