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John Fulkerson, Kennedy Chandler set to return against Ole Miss

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 22 Arizona at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tennessee opened SEC play without their two best players. That resulted in a loss at Alabama. Point guard Kennedy Chandler forward John Fulkerson tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the matchup, forcing them to miss the action last Wednesday.

Despite a fantastic effort from the rest of the Tennessee team, Olivier Nkamhoua and Santiago Vescovi ended up coming just short. The Volunteers led for the entire game, but an Alabama run in the closing seconds doomed the admirable effort.

On Monday, ahead of games against Ole Miss and LSU this week, Chandler and Fulkerson were cleared to return to action. Assistant coach Justin Gainey was also cleared.

Chandler leads Tennessee in scoring with 14 points per game, while Fulkerson ranks third with 9.9 per game. Fulkerson is coming off of his best game of the season, willing Tennessee to victory against a top ten Arizona team.

Tennessee had Alabama on the ropes for the entire night last Wednesday, but never could really pull away, lacking some offensive pop.

“We didn’t make a big deal about it,” Rick Barnes said after the loss to Alabama. “We said hey, this is what we have. We’re going to go play. We believe in these guys. We recruited them. We said hey, this is an opportunity for some of you guys to get more minutes.”

They’ll return to full strength this Wednesday night against Ole Miss (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network).