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Alex Olah available to return from foot injury against Penn State

Northwestern's center will rejoin the team after a six-game absence.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Per a program spokesperson, Northwestern senior center Alex Olah "is available" to return to action on Saturday night in the team's home game against the Penn State Nittany Lions. He hasn't played since the Wildcats' 103-67 win against Sacred Heart on December 21 due to a foot injury. The Wildcats have been 4-2 in his absence.

Olah, who scored a season-high 21 points on 8-10 shooting in Northwestern's blowout victory less than a month ago, has been sidelined since then and has yet to play in a Big Ten game this season. He also missed the Wildcats' final nonconference game, a win over Loyola (Md.).

His injury led to Northwestern burning the redshirt of freshman center Dererk Pardon, who broke out in the December 30 win over Nebraska in which he scored 28 points. Originally, Chris Collins had planned to not use Pardon this season, thus preserving his four years of eligibility.

The initial diagnosis of Olah's injury called for a roughly two-to-three week absence for the big man, but the actual timetable has been a little longer than that. With Olah's return to the lineup, Pardon's minutes — and those of Joey van Zegeren — will go down a bit, as Northwestern's frontcourt rotation gets extended.