Max Klesmit missed Wisconsin’s losses to Northwestern and Maryland because he suffered facial injuries from an elbow to the face in the win over Penn State on Jan. 17.

According to Wisconsin, he required 16 stitches in his lower lip and cheek. However, the junior guard appears on track to return to the lineup when the Badgers (12-7, 4-5 Big Ten) host Illinois (14-6, 5-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

After Thursday’s practice at the Kohl Center, Klesmit put it into his own words to

“What tenacity means to me is just having a chip on your shoulder, being tough, being gritty … not allowing a guy to be comfortable on the other side of the ball … not allowing all 5 guys on the floor that you’re playing against to be comfortable,” Klesmit said. “I just think that having tenacity is knowing that my guy is not going to beat me, and I know the four other guys behind me have the same mentality – that all 5 of us are locking down on that possession, and for every possession of the game. That’s tenacity. Just having the will to win. That will to dive on a loose ball. The effort plays.”

In the first game against Illinois, a 79-69 loss, Klesmit played 33 minutes, the second most on the team. He had 11 points, including 2 3s, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, 1 blocked shot and zero turnovers.