It's easier to slow them down rather than speed them up, said Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber. With so many newcomers looking for playing time in the preseason, Weber's Illini already endured a series of collisions in practice and a length injury report. But Weber and the Illini will gladly deal with that rather than a lineup that constantly need prodding.

CHAMPAIGN - It's easier to slow them down rather than speed them up, said Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber.


With so many newcomers looking for playing time in the preseason, Weber's Illini already endured a series of collisions in practice and a length injury report. But Weber and the Illini will gladly deal with that rather than a lineup that constantly need prodding.


"When we had had to it the other way with guys more passive and not physical, it's tough to turn their mindset into that,'' Weber said. "The big thing is we can slow these guys down. We can help them. They're willing to give up their bodies and get down on the floor. You don't have to fight them on effort on a daily basis.''


When Illinois hosts Division II Quincy in the final exhibition game Monday (7:30 p.m., no TV), Weber hoped to get players off the disabled list after three weeks of practice.


"If it was the NFL, it would be penalty flags,'' Weber said. "They lead with their heads.''


Illini point guard Sam Maniscalco wore a walking boot in the past week to rest his painful left ankle. The plan was for Maniscalco to return to the practice court Friday and shoot for 12 to 18 minutes of playing time against Quincy.


Freshman Myke Henry (thigh bruise) and sophomore Joe Bertrand (hip pointer) also rested injuries. Henry didn't play in the exhibition opener but is expected to see playing time against Quincy. Bertrand played but was slowed in the first exhibition game, when he took an elbow and needed stitches above his right eye.


Freshman Devin Langford's recovery from a broken finger is ahead of schedule, Weber said. Instead of four to six weeks, it's more like three, but that still left him about two weeks from playing. Langford started with shooting drills this week.


- When Southern Illinois defeated Division II Illinois-Springfield 79-56 on Sunday, Weber took notice and still wanted the Prairie Stars program to mature before scheduling an exhibition, but the Illini will look to get UIS "into the mix,'' Weber said.


"My thought was to let them get established and get the talent they feel that's competitive at the Division II level,'' Weber said. "We can look at them over the next couple of years.''


- Quincy gets to Assembly Hall Monday on a three-game, three-day road trip. The Hawks play at Drake on Saturday and Illinois State on Sunday. Weber's nephew Austin is a redshirt freshman at Quincy.


"We'll box-and-one him,'' said Bruce Weber jokingly earlier this week, "and he's not scoring. I promise you that.''


Austin is the son of Dave Weber, Bruce's brother and the coach at Glenbrook North.


John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnSupinie.