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Jim Calhoun’s return this season hinges on Monday’s surgery

Feb 26, 2012, 4:54 PM EDT

spt-1202030-calhoun AP

Once Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun has back surgery for his spinal stenois on Monday, he’ll miss the Huskies’ game Tuesday at Providence.

But after that, anything’s possible for a return this season.

The surgery involved removing some of the bone in the spinal column to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Calhoun, 69, has had a history of health issues, but he’s usually able to tolerate pain and various maladies. The guy’s tough. But the spinal stenois has been painful enough that he’s missed the last seven games.

If the surgery’s successful, he could possibly return for UConn’s regular-season finale against Pitt on March 3.

“I have patients driving after a couple of days, and if you can drive, you can coach, assuming he’s not having other problems that would require a much more aggressive surgery,” Dr. John Knightly, who works at the Spine Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., told the AP. “He’s not humping two-by-fours for a living. This is so he can walk more independently without pain.”

If that’s true, Calhoun’s return this season seems far more likely (a good thing for the struggling Huskies), as does him avoiding retirement.

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