Notre Damestandout big man Bonzie Colson, who has missed the past 15 games, will start Wednesday on Senior Night against Pittsburgh, head coach Mike Brey said.
"I was going to put him out there to start the game, even if the doctors didn't clear him, and foul right away just to see the place go crazy," Brey told ESPN on Tuesday night. "Now I don't have to foul. He'll start, and I'm hoping he can play 20 minutes."
Notre Dame began the season 11-3 with Colson in the lineup and is just 6-9 since he has been sidelined with a left foot fracture he suffered in practice.
After Wednesday's game, the Irish (17-12) conclude the regular season Saturday at Virginia. Brey said he is hopeful that Notre Dame can fare well in the final two regular-season games and in the ACC tournament in Brooklyn next week.
"We want to make things interesting for the NCAA tournament committee," Brey said. "We need to show some life and play well in Brooklyn."
The 6-foot-6 Colson, a preseason All-American, was averaging 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game before the injury. Notre Dame has also dealt with numerous other injuries this season, but Brey said that everyone besides D.J. Harvey (knee surgery) is available on Wednesday. Standout point guard Matt Farrell (ankle) missed five games in ACC play and the Irish were 1-4 in that stretch.
"We were so fractured during the season," Brey said. "I just hope we give the committee a lot to talk about."
Brey also said that Colson's younger sister, Sydni, will sing the national anthem before Wednesday's game, joking, "It will be Colson family night."
ESPN's Jeff Borzello contributed to this report.
Bonzie Colson (left foot) to return as Irish make NCAA tourney push