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Scary injury to Wayne Chism dampens an otherwise excellent game against Ragin' Cajuns: UT 89, UL-Laf. 62

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Wayne Chism had another monster performance, putting in 18 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, dishing out three assists, knocking away two shots, and taking away one steal against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in an 89-62 victory for the Vols. I was late to the party, so I didn't actually see any of this. All I saw was Chism falling to the ground head first and laying there while Bob Kesling and Bert Bertlekamp speculated on why the trainers were strapping Wheezy to the stretcher and whisking him away to the hospital.

The most preliminary of reports is that that Chism suffered a "neck and back injury" on the play and that the whole stretcher/ambulance/hospital thing was merely precautionary. Let's hope, and not only because we have Kansas, Gonzaga, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Memphis on the horizon. Let's hope he's all right just because.

Chism wasn't the only Vol to have an eventful game against the Cajuns. Tyler Smith was also in double figures and had four rebounds and one each of a block, steal, and assist. There were seven other players to score, including Josh Tabb, Scotty Hopson, and Cam Tatum, who each contributed nine points.

As a team, Tennessee hit 48.4% from the field, 26.9% from three-point range, and 69% from the free throw line. The stat line shows that the Vols had 35 bench points to UL-Laf's 29 and that Tennessee had a whopping 31 points off turnovers.

All of that is secondary to Chism's status, though. We'll presume for now that the immobility routine was in fact just precautionary. We'll have updates as we learn more.

[Note by Joel, 12/29/08 10:26 PM EST ] Mike Griffith was there and says that Chism was moving his fingers and talking to folks, but that he didn't open his eyes for several minutes after falling. Still no report from the hospital at this time.

[Note by Joel, 12/29/08 10:39 PM EST ] WBIR has this quote from Pearl: "[Chism had] movement everywhere but his right hand." Chism will have an MRI to determine the extent of his injuries. The articles also says that Chism was conscious the entire time but that "it took him a while to realize where he was and what happened."

[Note by Joel, 12/30/08 9:12 AM EST ] Just a stinger, according to Pearl via ESPN. Thanks to Will for the find and the link below.