Basketball is officially in the air. The Tennessee Volunteers will hit the floor on Saturday for the first time on your TV, set to take on Lenoir-Rhyne in an exhibition. Rick Barnes met with the media on Tuesday to talk about the upcoming season, and led things off with some injury news.
John Fulkerson, entering his sixth season at Tennessee, will miss this weekend’s matchup with a broken thumb. Fulkerson is expected to be back for the season opener — November 9th against UT-Martin.
#Vols’ John Fulkerson will miss the exhibition game with a broken thumb, but he should be back for the regular season opener.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) October 26, 2021
Kennedy Chandler has also missed some time with what Barnes called a “minor injury.” Jonas Aidoo is also battling an illness, per Barnes.
Fulkerson is hoping to go back to his 2019-20 form, where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
The Kingsport native struggled last season, something both he and Rick Barnes related directly back to COVID. Fulkerson will return to his role in the post, looking to bounce back from a nasty ending to last season. He was forced to miss the NCAA Tournament game against Oregon State, along with the SEC Tournament matchup against Alabama after taking a couple of elbows to the face against Florida.
He will be joined by true freshmen Brandon Huntley-Hatfield and Jonas Aidoo, a couple of highly-ranked post players. Tennessee will be looking for Olivier Nkamhoua to take a step forward as they try to replace Yves Pons.
Tip-off for Saturday’s exhibition game is set for 3 p.m. ET. SEC Network+ will stream the game live.