Tennessee had a notable member of the team missing last week — another week that saw the Volunteers win one and lose one. Josiah-Jordan James, who has become a bit of a glue guy for the team this year, hasn’t been able to play due to a wrist injury.
The sophomore is trying to work through the injury and get back on the floor, but he was unable to do so against Kentucky.
“Yeah it is a sprain, but he is trying,” Rick Barnes said on Monday. “I mean, he is doing everything he can. We keep doing what we need to do from a medical side. Believe me, we need him. His leadership is very valuable to us which I think is evident Saturday since we missed that. But with that said, he is doing all he can, and it is just a day-to-day deal, and we will see what happens between now and whenever he can get back, but he is trying.”
James is averaging 8.9 points and six rebounds per game as a sophomore. He’s turned into one of the more reliable shooters on the team, while flexing down to the four spot at times to give Tennessee some small-ball lineup minutes. He injured his wrist against Kansas, but was able to play through it before missing last week’s games.
“He tried and couldn’t, and he even tried before the game the other night just to go through warm-ups, but he just didn’t feel like he could be a factor with it,” Barnes said.
Tennessee, now ranked No. 25 in the latest AP Poll, will finish their regularly scheduled games of the regular season this week with matchups against Vanderbilt and Auburn. Getting James healthy ahead of tournament time, along with Yves Pons who is dealing with a lingering knee issue, has to be the top priority at this point in the season.