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Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press
Utah forward Timmy Allen, center, shoots as Southern California forward Bennie Boatwright, left, and forward Victor Uyaelunmo defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, in Los Angeles.

SALT LAKE CITY — Time will tell if starting forward Timmy Allen will be back with the Utah Utes this week. Key word: back.

The freshman, who did not play in last week’s games at Washington and Washington State because of a back issue, is questionable for Saturday’s pivotal Pac-12 outing at Colorado.

“We’re just kind of in a holding pattern,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, while noting the unpredictability of back injuries. “I think we’re going to be conservative and cautious about it and think big picture before we make any kind of declarations or turning him loose yet.”

Krystkowiak noted that in Utah’s 62-45 loss at Washington, the Utes missed not having a high-post player like Allen against the challenging zone defense employed by the Huskies.

“I think that’s a threat that you have to have,” Krystkowiak said. “And obviously, on the tough meter, I think Timmy is one of the top guys on our team in terms of just being physical and playing really hard.”

Krystkowiak credited Riley Battin, Donnie Tillman and others for filling in for Allen when the Utes played small for much of the game in a 93-79 victory at Washington State. He also praised the defense of Charles Jones Jr.

" I think we’re going to be conservative and cautious about it and think big picture before we make any kind of declarations or turning him loose yet. "
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak on Timmy Allen's status

“It’s like raising kids, right? It takes a village,” Krystkowiak said. “But Timmy is one of those guys that just gives us kind of the intangible with some toughness. He was doing a great job rebounding and we can always count on him to defend. I think that’s always a priority for him, is to take a lot of pride in playing defense.”

Allen played in Utah’s first 25 games and made 22 starts. He’s averaging 11.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and is shooting 59.2 percent from the field.

GOTTA WEAR SHADES: Krystkowiak is looking forward to getting Olympus guard Rylan Jones and Pleasant Grove center Matthew Van Komen in the fold next season. Same goes for the addition of Finland’s Mikael Jantunen and returning missionaries Branden Carlson and Jaxon Brenchley.

“You’re getting me kind of excited for the future and we’ve got to stay in the present here and finish this off,” Krystkowiak said. “But I think the future’s pretty bright.”

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BOUNCE BACK: Sophomore forward Donnie Tillman posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win at Washington State. He was also credited with playing great defense in the second half against Pac-12 scoring leader Robert Franks.

Tillman’s performance was a stark contrast to earlier in the week when he was held scoreless for the first time this season as the Utes fell at Washington.

“The reality is we can’t accomplish our goals if we don’t have him,” Krystkowiak said.

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Utah (15-12, 9-6) at Colorado (16-11, 7-8)

CU Events Center — Boulder, Colo.

Saturday, 4 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: ESPN 700AM