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CARBONDALE - Gene Teague can now do more than just practice for the Southern Illinois University men's basketball team.

Saluki coach Chris Lowery announced earlier today that the 6-foot-9, 290-pound freshman center was cleared by the NCAA to play Saturday against Illinois State. Teague was held out of Wednesday's game against Bradley, the first game of the new semester at SIU, because of what Lowery called "an academic issue."

Friday, Lowery said Teague's issue was cleared by the NCAA for the remainder of this season. Asked about the nature of the issue at hand, Lowery said he could not say anything else because of academic privacy issues. Teague was at practice earlier today, but was not made available to the media.

Teague originally committed to South Florida, but did not academically qualify. He played at a fifth-year prep school in New Jersey called Apex Academy last season, where he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Teague recently emerged as a major post threat for the Salukis, scoring 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in his two previous games, which earned him MVC newcomer of the week honors Monday.

SIU (10-7, 3-5 Missouri Valley Conference) and the Redbirds (14-5, 5-3 MVC) tip off at 2:05 p.m. Saturday at SIU Arena.

For more on SIU's game with the Redbirds, please see Saturday's editions.

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