KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee forward Duke Crews was cleared to return to the Vols more than a month after he was benched because of a heart condition.
``More than anything, we are pleased that Duke is able to return,'' Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said Friday. ``We will try to get him up to speed as quickly as possible while keeping in mind that he has had no activity for more than a month.''
Crews' heart condition was discovered during free echocardiograms given to all Tennessee athletes in the fall. The tests were given in hopes of catching any previously unknown heart conditions that could lead to sudden death.
Tennessee sports medicine staff benched Crews on Dec. 14. Since then, Crews rested and underwent monitoring and additional tests.
``These tests have been evaluated by respected cardiologists throughout the nation with extensive experience caring for professional and collegiate athletes,'' said Dr. Chris Klenck, the Vols' team physician. ``Based on their recommendations, Duke's condition is compatible to a return to competition. We will continue to monitor Duke closely.''
The 6-foot-7 sophomore was slowed by an ankle injury but earned a spot in the starting lineup for two games before being benched. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in eight games this season.
The medical staff will continue to monitor Crews' heart. The sixth-ranked Vols (15-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) face Ohio State on Saturday.
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