The Birmingham News, Mark Almond) MAGS OUT, Associated Press
Alabama's Trevor Releford pressures Auburn's Varez Ward in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's Varez Ward can't take to the air quite like he used to.

The Tigers point guard still hasn't fully regained strength in his right leg more than two years after rupturing his quadriceps tendon dunking during pre-game warmups while playing for Texas.

Ward says he had lost nine inches from a 38-inch vertical leap as of last summer. He's still become a key player for the struggling Tigers and shown flashes of his old abilities with a recent hot streak that included 24 points at Mississippi State.

Ward started the first three games for Texas as a sophomore before the injury. He missed the rest of the season and transferred closer to his Montgomery home last year to be near his then-ailing mother.