After missing the last two games with COVID, Arizona State forward Warren Washington will return to the floor this week as the Sun Devils host their final two home games of the regular season.

Coach Bobby Hurley shared the news Tuesday when he met with reporters, per The Arizona Republic’s Michelle Gardner. Washington is expected to be in the lineup Thursday when Colorado comes to Desert Financial Arena.

A 7-foot big man who transferred into the program by way of Nevada this past offseason, Washington has been a steady contributor for the Sun Devils on the glass and in protecting the rim. He’s eighth in the Pac-12 in rebounds (7.0 per game) and third in blocked shots (1.9 per game). He’s also top-10 in the league in defensive plus/minus.

Without Washington in the lineup for the Sun Devils’ recent two-game swing through the Bay Area — which yielded a 69-65 win over Stanford and a 70-62 overtime win over Cal — Arizona State turned to freshman forward Duke Brennan.

Brennan started the Cal game last Saturday (his first career start) and finished with nine points, seven boards, a block, a steal, and an assist. Before this past week, he’d only seen more than 10 minutes in a game seven times this season.

Hurley told reporters the two-game run gave him confidence that Brennan can be reliably called upon when needed as the Sun Devils come down the closing stretch of the campaign.

“Going into the week, for me, you don’t sleep good knowing you’re not going to have Warren because of what he’s meant to the team all year,” Hurley said. “But on the flip side, now you can look back on it and see that we were able to win both games and Duke gets that extra experience of playing more minutes. So, as we’re moving forward and our season’s on the line, at a certain point if Warren’s in foul trouble or something’s happening, there’s certainly more trust that you can put (Duke) out there and he can get the job done.”

After four straight losses put the postseason chances on the brink, ASU has rebounded to win three of its last four. The next two, though they’re against teams lower down the league table, carry a ton of importance if ASU wants to make the NCAA Tournament.

The regular season concludes with three straight road games against No. 8 Arizona, No. 4 UCLA, and USC.

The Sun Devils (18-8, 9-6 Pac-12) need to close out strong to convince the selection committee an at-large bid is warranted. Washington’s return will certainly help to that end.