Tennessee has been dealing with injuries since the start of the season, and they’re not letting up just yet. The Volunteers were without Santiago Vescovi on Sunday night against Alcorn State after the senior guard suffered an injury against McNeese State.
Clearly, it wasn’t an issue for the Volunteers, as Tennessee ran away with the game early on. They finished things off to score a 94-40 win. However, after Wednesday night’s game against Eastern Kentucky, things get tough. Maryland and Arizona will be up next, and the Volunteers will need everyone at full strength.
“He felt better (today),” Barnes said on Monday. “I mean, Santi is the kind of guy that if you asked him to play, he’d say ‘I’ll play.’ He’s just a tough guy. He would play through anything. Whether or not he plays — yeah, level two sprain there in the shoulder. He came down on his left arm (against McNeese).”
We’ll see if he gives it a go tonight.
Of course, Vescovi isn’t the only one dealing with an injury. Josiah-Jordan James, Tennessee’s most complete player, has been in and out of the lineup all season long due to knee soreness.
It started in the preseason scrimmage against Gonzaga, and has continued since. James and Barnes admit that it’s something that is going to have to be managed throughout the season, but Triple-J was able to get some minutes in against Alcorn.
Barnes detailed that plan on Monday.
“We had him limited in terms of how many minutes we wanted him to play,” Barnes said. “We thought 13, 14 minutes, but we were thinking more in terms of two to three minutes at a time, but then we felt like based on the numbers they keep over there that he needed a good six-minute run which he got that just a little bit over, but we knew we were going to keep him to around 14. He wanted to play more as you would expect. He loves it. He wants to get after it, but we’ll keep monitoring that because obviously we want to get him right as we continue to go into the season.”
I’d probably expect a similar plan tonight against Eastern Kentucky, perhaps with a few added minutes to get him ready for Maryland.