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Penn senior guard Andrew Toole, shown against La Salle, twisted his ankle in Tuesday night's game against the Explorers and is questionable for this weekend's games against Dartmouth and Harvard at the Palestra. [Avi Berkowitz/DP File Photo]

Dartmouth and Harvard will step onto the Palestra court this weekend as Penn begins its defense of the Ivy League basketball title. And if opening the Ivy season was not already a large task, the Quakers (8-5, 0-0 Ivy) may have to endure its games without senior point guard Andrew Toole. Toole twisted his right ankle Tuesday night against La Salle and has been unable to practice since. "I don't really have any idea [if I will play] right now. We're going to wait to see what happens in the next 24 hours," Toole said. "I don't think the coaches or the trainers are going to let me out there if I'm going to injure myself further." Toole is currently second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game, but Penn has depth at the guard spot to fill in should Toole be unable to take the court. If a replacement is needed, senior guard David Klatsky ---- a former starter and the team's assist leader ---- will "probably" get the start according to Penn coach Fran Dunphy. "Hopefully he'll be able to play, but you never know," Dunphy said. "I didn't want to face it until the reality hits, but we prepare for that every day." Entering Ivy play last season, the Quakers owned a 9-3 record and was riding a three-game winning streak. On Tuesday, Penn beat La Salle to end their pre-Ivy slate and gain momentum for this year's opening weekend. The victory improved the Red and Blue's Big 5 record to 3-1 and, perhaps more critically, gave the Quakers a win after last weekend's home loss to St. Joseph's. "If we would have come in here down two games in a row going into the Ivies, it would be a lot tougher," Penn guard Tim Begley said. The momentum could be critical as the Quakers look to avenge last season's 78-75 opening weekend loss to Harvard. Last year, Penn stumbled out of the blocks on its way to a 2-3 Ivy record before rattling off ten consecutive league victories. "Falling behind was awful last year," Begley said. "Our backs were up against the wall every single night." Harvard (10-5, 2-0 Ivy) sits atop the Ivies after sweeping two games against Dartmouth. But when the Crimson take the hardwood against Princeton Friday, it will be their first game in 20 days because of finals break. In Harvard's last game, a 69-68 squeaker against Dartmouth, senior guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman became the Ivy League's all-time assists leader with 614. Last season, Harvard finished an even 7-7 in Ivy League play. "The seniors talk about how they struggle against Harvard every year, so we won't be going into that game lightly at all," Begley said. The Quakers will play host to last year's Ivy cellar dweller Dartmouth (4-11, 0-2 Ivy) on Friday night. Senior Charles Harris leads the Big Green averaging 14.1 points per game. With or without Toole, Dunphy believes that his players will be ready to begin their quest for another NCAA Tournament berth and to avoid last season's opening weekend loss. "They're a year older and a year more mature," Dunphy said. "Every game in our league is so critical. But I think these guys have a grasp of that, and they'll be ready to go."

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