Junior guard Lamonte Turner has only appeared in three of Tennessee’s seven games this season as he nurses a shoulder injury back to health. Turner was thrown back into the fire against Louisville, where he hit a handful of big shots to keep the Vols’ slim lead in the middle stages of the game.
After that performance, Turner shot just 3-13 against Kansas, then 2-11 against Eastern Kentucky. Turner didn’t play on Sunday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
“You know, the excitement of being in New York. The excitement of being part of one of the preseason tournaments is always good. You go back, Lamonte hadn’t played really. He came in, he was over amped up about it,” Barnes said on Tuesday.
Sunday after the game, Barnes said that Turner wasn’t 100 percent and they didn’t plan on rushing him back.
“He’s continuing to do his rehabilitation,” Barnes said. “We told him when you’re 100 percent, come out, and because of the way you played the last two games, we’re not going to play you anyway.”
And now on Tuesday, Barnes gave another update. “It really is pretty much day by day. That is something he is still working though.”
So Turner’s status remains up in the air for perhaps Tennessee’s biggest game of the non-conference season. Even if he does play, it’s unrealistic to think he’s going to be totally in shape, much less find his consistent stroke.
Turner not being 100 percent for this one really hurts. He’s Tennessee’s sparkplug off the bench. It seems like whenever they need a shot, Turner is there to deliver it. We saw a little bit of that against Louisville.
If he can’t go, more responsibility will fall on Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden to make plays offensively, along with Jalen Johnson to provide depth.