Phil Booth disappeared last season, but it wasn't because he wanted to. The Villanova Wildcats point guard played a key role in the team's triumph in the 2016 NCAA Championship Game over the North Carolina Tar Heels. He was expected to play a key role on last season's team, too before being decimated by a knee injury that limited him to just a few games. Villanova fans have finally received the good news they've been waiting on, though: Booth is ready to come back.

Booth is back

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein reported that Booth had been cleared for basketball activities on Tuesday, courtesy of Wildcats coach Jay Wright.

The news comes approximately three months before the start of the College Basketball season, giving the point guard plenty of time to acclimate to the sport once again. After all, it has been an arduous journey for Booth to make it back into Villanova's plans.

Booth endured arthroscopic knee surgery a month after the 2016 title game. He made it back for the beginning of the season, but something was clearly amiss.

After just three games, his season with Villanova quietly came to an end as an indefinite leave of absence became the norm. He hasn't graced the court since November 17, when the Wildcats took on Western Michigan. It's hard to put expectations on the point guard at this point, but the simple fact that he's healthy is great news.

Villanova's hopes for the season

Booth may not have a starting role waiting for him when he returns, and Wright may want to ease him back into action anyways. Jalen Brunson is the best player on the Wildcats and should have the responsibilities of a facilitator.

Donte DiVincenzo emerged as a future star last season. Freshman Collin Gillespie has high expectations. Villanova has any number of options to turn to for a starting point guard.

Last season, the Wildcats won the Big East regular season and postseason title, finishing with a 32-4 record. They couldn't make another run to the Final Four, though. Expectations will be high once again for the 2017-18 campaign. They will be favorites in their conference once again as some of the other established names, such as Georgetown and Butler, go through coaching changes.

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.1 assists per game during his last full season, when he was a contributor off the bench. Booth may not play the central role once expected of him, but he'll be a difference maker. For Villanova fans, that will be good enough.

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