Ray expected to join Wildcats on court Wednesday

Updated: March 13, 2006, 10:45 PM ET
Associated Press

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- With or without goggles, Allan Ray should be back on the court this week.

Allan Ray

Three days after a scary eye injury left the senior guard fearing he'd be blind, Ray was cleared to practice Monday and is expected to play for No. 2 Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.

Ray might not even wear protective goggles after he was hit hard in his right eye at the Big East tournament Friday night.

"It's his choice," Villanova coach Jay Wright said of the eye gear. "He looks great. His vision is a lot better."

Ray received full clearance to participate in all drills after seeing a specialist on Monday. He's expected to join the Wildcats on the court Wednesday. Wright plans a light practice Tuesday.

On Friday, Villanova will play the winner of Tuesday night's opening-round game between Monmouth and Hampton.

"It's going to be important for him to get back playing and just feel good," Wright said. "The only risk he has is the exact same thing happening, but that's the same risk as if it never happened before."

Ray is the Wildcats' second-leading scorer, averaging 18.8 points, and part of Villanova's four-guard starting lineup. The second-ranked Wildcats (25-4) were in the top 10 all season, and earned the No. 1 seed in the Minneapolis Regional.

A first-team all-Big East selection, Ray was hit in the right eye early in the second half of Friday night's semifinal loss to Pittsburgh. Wright said Ray's eyelid was pushed behind the eyeball which made it look like the eyeball was protruding.

Ray was taken to a hospital, then saw an eye specialist on Saturday who confirmed that Ray sustained a soft-tissue injury.

Ray wore sunglasses while speaking to reporters on Sunday, but didn't have them on Monday.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press