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Barnes: Josiah James aggravated hip injury from the preseason

James hasn’t been 100 percent this week.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It hasn’t been an easy freshman season for former five-star guard Josiah James. The 6-6 guard struggled through preseason camp, nursing a hip injury. That issue seemed to slow down James’ initial impact, though he never missed a start.

Last week against Kansas, James saw that injury flare back up.

“(Josiah) struggled the other night,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said on Thursday. “He was hurt a little bit, but I think he showed some toughness by trying to fight through it.

“He tweaked it a little bit. He actually did it at Kansas a little bit. But all teams have that this time of year.”

James had his worst game of the season against the Jayhawks, scoring zero points and earning six turnovers. He played just 23 minutes against Texas A&M, scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds and two assists.

The South Carolina native has struggled offensively, at least scoring-wise all season long. Things became more complicated when Tennessee lost Lamonte Turner for the season, then added freshman Santiago Vescovi to the starting lineup. So a bumpy freshman season gets a little more complicated now, with the return of this hip injury.

Tennessee needs James at full strength soon, considering they’ve got road trips to Mississippi State and Alabama up next, then home matchups against Arkansas and Kentucky. For a team on the bubble, the Volunteers need at least a couple of those games to bolster their NCAA Tournament resume.