Look for them to play limited minutes, if any, Tuesday when the Vols play at Alabama (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.)
"(Their return) won't affect our rotation at all right now," UT coach Bruce Pearl said after Sunday's light practice at Pratt Pavilion, "but it will certainly give us the depth that we need down the stretch."
Tatum, a sophomore guard/small forward, and Goins, a junior point guard, were suspended along with junior post Brian Williams and senior forward Tyler Smith after they were pulled over for speeding on New Year's Day resulting in misdemeanor drug and weapons charges.
Smith was dismissed from the team and Williams remains suspended indefinitely.
Tatum started six of the 12 games he's played this season and averaged 8.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 19.6 minutes per game. He is 12-of-30 from 3-point range (40 percent), ranking second on the team in 3-point percentage behind Renaldo Woolridge (13-of-30, 43.3 percent).
Goins started one of the 12 games he's played and averaged 6.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 16.3 minutes per game.
Tatum and Goins were not made available for media interviews after Sunday's practice.
"Melvin and Cam will go to the scout team just like anybody would coming back, and they'll work their way back into the rotation based on how they're playing," Pearl said. "Melvin goes in behind Bobby (Maze) and Josh Bone and Cameron comes in at two positions behind Scotty (Hopson), Skylar (McBee) and J.P. (Prince) and will play in (case of) foul trouble."
Hopson, the Vols' leading scorer (13.3 ppg), is Goins' roommate.
"We speak all the time on the experience," Hopson said of the suspensions. "I understand how tough it was for him. We talked about how his workouts were going while he was out and the things he was doing. Now that he's back, we see that grin on his face."
Pearl spent several minutes talking alone with Tatum and Goins before the practice.
"It's just good having those guys back," Pearl said. "They suffered a very, very heavy penalty, most of which was just all the public scrutiny, because they're good kids. They just made a mistake, and they've served their time and now it's good having them back."
UT (14-2, 2-0 SEC), which beat Ole Miss 71-69 in overtime Saturday, has won four straight since the four players were suspended and six straight overall.
"It's good to be playing well," Pearl said. "You can look at it two ways. All we've done is what we're supposed to do, and that's win home games in the league. We all know certainly against Ole Miss that wasn't easy. Or you could look at it and say hey, this team has already done something that last year's team didn't do and that's beat these two teams in the regular season. We lost at Auburn and Ole Miss (last season)."
Negedu on Leave: Sophomore forward Emmanuel Negedu, who is sidelined due to a medical condition, has returned home to Nigeria to be with his family while it deals with a crisis.
"He went back home to be with his family," Pearl said. "His sister passed away."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.