Villanova's Stokes may return against Syracuse

After missing the last three games with a sprained left big toe, or turf toe, Corey Stokes could be back in the lineup Monday night when 15th-ranked Villanova takes on No. 17 Syracuse at the Wells Fargo Center.

Stokes, the Wildcats' second-leading scorer with a 14.6-point average, has not played since midway through the second half of a Feb. 9 game at Rutgers. He shot with his teammates before Saturday's game at DePaul and Sunday during a light practice.

Villanova coach Jay Wright said Monday is the first day Stokes could go through a full workout, and he will be tested in drills to see if he can play without pain.

"We'll just see what he looks like," Wright said Saturday after the Wildcats gained a 77-75 overtime victory over the Blue Demons. "He could get in there [Monday night] and not be able to go, or get stepped on or something. But he might be able to play, too. So that's what we're going to do."

Without Stokes, the Wildcats have struggled for consistency on offense. They averaged 57.0 points in splitting games against Pittsburgh and Seton Hall, and managed just 62 in regulation at DePaul.

"We just haven't had any flow offensively," Wright said, "but our defense and rebounding has kept us in games. It's just hard to score.

"Corey Stokes is a guy that's going to stretch the defense. Even if he's not making shots, they're going to guard him, no matter how far out he is, and that's going to create space for everybody. It would be nice if we get him back."

Stokes, who is shooting 42.0 percent on three-pointers in Big East games, had 16 points - 12 of them coming on four baskets from beyond the arc - in the Cats' 83-72 win over Syracuse on Jan. 22.