Starting guard Josiah-Jordan James had a tough start to his season, and it was all made worse by an injury. Triple-J has a torn ligament in his finger that has caused him to miss the last few games. The injury occured in on his shooting hand.
Tennessee has been able to win without him as he heals, but the schedule is about to ramp up a bit. The Volunteers have their first true road game of the season on Saturday, set to make a trip out to Colorado to face the 5-2 Buffaloes.
Will James be able to give it a go? Rick Barnes isn’t sure just yet.
“I don’t know yet,” Barnes said on James’ status on Thursday. “I haven’t talked to Chad today yet about it. He goes through some of the warmups that we do in practice, but he hasn’t had any contact in practice yet.”
Tough start aside, James will be an important piece of Tennessee’s puzzle moving forward. Though he may not light up the scoreboard, he does just about everything else for the Vols. The former five-star prospect averaged eight points, 6.5 rebounds, two assists and a block last season.
“We have so much trust in him and know he will let us know when he thinks he can be effective out there whatever it is out there that he thinks he can help us with,” Barnes said. “He is doing his part in any and every way he can out there to keep himself in shape and taking care of his body. Staying engaged with game plans. Helping those guys and being the leader that we talked about him and those older guys being for the team this year.”
Tennessee will face Colorado on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, FS1) ahead of a trip to New York to face Texas Tech next week.