Illinois will still be shorthanded when it takes the floor on Saturday afternoon against Northwestern, but it’s getting closer to full strength.

About an hour before the game, 247Sports reported that All-B1G center Kofi Cockburn is available to suit up for the Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon. He has missed the team’s last two games against Maryland and Michigan State due to concussion protocol.

Cockburn is averaging a double-double this season at 21.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. This will be the first time the center has been back on the floor since a double-overtime loss to Purdue on Jan. 17.

The Fighting Illini will still be without Andre Curbelo, who is in COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He played just 14 minutes in Illinois’ loss to Maryland and was absent from Tuesday’s game against Michigan State.

Curbelo is averaging 10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Illinois struggled mightily against Maryland with Cockburn out and Curbelo limited. The Illini dropped an 81-65 decision in College Park. But Brad Underwood’s team responded beautifully.

On Tuesday, with both Cockburn and Curbelo out, Illinois got a huge home win over Michigan State 56-55 to climb atop the B1G standings.

Tip-off between Illinois and Northwestern is set for 4:30 p.m. ET and the game will air on BTN.