Pike to practice with Bearcats

Tony Pike is "a lot closer" to returning for Cincinnati (No. 5 BCS, No. 4 AP), but his availability for this week's game against Connecticut won't be known until later this week, coach Brian Kelly said Monday.

The senior quarterback has missed the last two games after hurting his left, non-throwing arm in the Bearcats' Oct. 15 win at South Florida. Pike, who broke that arm last year, had an operation to repair a plate in the arm two weeks ago.

Kelly said this week will be the first time that Pike takes full reps in practice, but that probably won't happen until Wednesday and Thursday.

"I don't know what to expect from him until I see him in that form," Kelly said.

Zach Collaros is 2-0 in Pike's absence. Collaros has completed 74.6 percent of his passes and has nine touchdowns with just one interception.

Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com.