As has been feared or expected--or both--for months, Jeronne Maymon's left knee injury will force him to take a redshirt season in 2012-13. The official Tennessee release quotes Maymon as saying that, while hard, he knows this is in his best interests, and that "I believe everything happens for a reason, and I see this injury as a blessing in disguise. God does not make mistakes."
Maymon's absence for the rest of the season leaves Tennessee where they have been for the first two months of the season: without their emotional leader, best interior passer, only first team preseason all-SEC selection, and best candidate to take the pressure of talented sophomore Jarnell Stokes. Without Maymon, Stokes has struggled against the double-team, and the Vols have been unable to develop the inside-out game that yielded open looks for their sharpshooters late last season. Tennessee has still been able to play lockdown defense and garner some quality wins, but the lack of offense has put them behind the eight-ball in the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth, with the Vols needing a strong run through SEC play to avoid a second straight NIT trip.
Next season, if Maymon is fully healed (he should be, but he also should've been fully healed by now. As a fan of Stuart Holden, I take nothing recovery-related for granted), Tennessee should field its most talented lineup in some time. Gone from this year's team will be former walk-on Skylar McBee, Kenny Hall, and the never-used Dwight Miller, to be replaced by Maymon and five-star shooting guard Robert Hubbs, who will step in alongside talented upperclassmen in Stokes, Trae Golden, Josh Richardson, and Jordan McRae.
Update from the 1/7 press conference: according to team doctors, Maymon will be cleared to return to practice at the end of January.