Groce said in a statement before Thursday's game against Michigan that he was pleased with Rice's progress. But the coach said he told Cosby to ''take some time away from basketball.''
Rice last played for Illinois on Jan. 3 against Ohio State. He broke his hand in practice the following week, but was suspended along with Cosby before the Jan. 31 game against Penn State for unspecified rules violations.
Without Rice Illinois has gone 6-3.
Rice is Illinois' leading scorer with 17.2 points a game.
Cosby hasn't played since he was poked in the eye during the Jan. 18 game against Indiana. The injury required surgery.