South Carolina says injured forward Sheppard's recovery from knee surgery ahead of schedule

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — Injured South Carolina forward Shamiek Sheppard has returned to practice after surgery on his injured right knee and could play this season.

Coach Frank Martin said the 6-foot-6 freshman is ahead of schedule in recovering from surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee after he tore the ligament this summer. Martin said Sheppard may not miss the entire season if he can practice without suffering setbacks.

Martin declared Sheppard would redshirt this season, not wishing to rush the rehabilitation process. But the coach said Monday that Sheppard was evaluated by doctors earlier this month and given the green light to practice.

Sheppard would bolster a group in which just one of Martin's four signees from last year is playing. The Gamecocks (7-3) host North Carolina A&T (2-12) Tuesday.

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