Scotty Hopson on crutches after acute ankle sprain

Tobias Harris also banged up on eve of Auburn trip

Tennessee assistant coach talks to forward Tobias Harris, left, and guard Scotty Hopson during the game against LSU at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.  The Vols defeated the Tigers 75-53.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee assistant coach talks to forward Tobias Harris, left, and guard Scotty Hopson during the game against LSU at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. The Vols defeated the Tigers 75-53.

Game preview: Tennessee vs. Alabama (2/5/11)

Coach Bruce Pearl said forward Tobias Harris had been living in Tennessee's training room the past couple of nights.

Harris no doubt had some company Tuesday night.

Scotty Hopson went down with an acute ankle sprain during Tuesday's practice, raising doubts as to his availability when the Vols play at Auburn on Thursday night.

Thus UT (14-7, 4-2 SEC) has ankle issues with its two leading scorers for the visit to the Tigers (8-13, 1-6), a 9 p.m. tipoff on ESPN2.

Harris sprained his ankle in the second half of a 74-57 win at Ole Miss on Saturday. He returned to finish the game but hasn't practiced with the team since.

Trainer Chad Newman said Tuesday that Harris is making excellent progress. The 6-foot-8 freshman averaging 14.7 points and 7.7 rebounds will be evaluated today.

So will Hopson, but getting him back in time for Auburn will be a challenge.

Newman described the injury as an acute lateral sprain of the left ankle.

"We have to give it 24 hours,'' Newman said. "You can't tell much in a couple of hours.

"He'll be on crutches tonight. We have a game in 48 hours so you want to give it every chance you can by resting it as much as possible.''

Hopson leads the Vols at 16.5 points a game.

The 6-7 junior has never missed a game and has started 87 of the 92 games in his career.

Hopson went down in obvious pain near the end of a high-energy practice. He put no weight on his left leg as he was helped off the court.

"Hopefully, the news will be good,'' said senior guard Josh Bone.

If Hopson can't play or can't get his usual 28.9 minutes a game, the burden will be spread across the roster.

Pearl wasn't ready Tuesday evening to say who would start. The likely candidates would be sophomore Skylar McBee or Bone.

"Josh will play two and three,'' Pearl said, "and we'll look at Renaldo (Woolridge) coming in and getting some rotations at the three.''

Woolridge hasn't played in the past seven games since Pearl reduced his rotation.

Jordan McRae, a freshman guard, has been on indefinite suspension since a Jan. 21 incident on the team bus.

He has missed three games and hasn't practiced with the team.

"We're looking at a range of anywhere from three to six games,'' Pearl said. "He could be a factor (Thursday) but that's discretionary at this point.''

Pearl won't be traveling to Auburn as he sits out the seventh game of an eight-game SEC suspension.

"We've overcome a lot of adversity in a lot of different ways,'' Pearl said. "That's what we do. That's what depth is for and that's why guys have to stay right and ready.''

When Melvin Goins was sidelined against Missouri State on Nov. 17, freshman Trae Golden and McBee combined at point guard in a 60-56 win. McBee's role also expanded when Golden was ill and missed the win over Villanova on Nov. 26.

"When you lose a scorer like Scotty,'' McBee said, "collectively as a team everybody has to step up and contribute.

"We've dealt with adversity before and we've seen somebody step up every time. I don't count this time as being any different.''

Cam Tatum is UT's third-leading scorer at 10.0 ppg.

"We've got guys on this team that look forward to the opportunity and will be ready to play,'' Tatum said.

"I think everybody is still confident in the rest of this team and I know (Hopson) is confident in the rest of this team as well.''

Mike Strange may also be reached at 865-342-6276. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 18

NYvolFan writes:

Never have been first...like I care.

Hopefully they'll both be OK with some rest. We should take these 2 games regardless. Signing Day is looking good! GBO.

VOLtage writes:

Did he hurt his ankle dribbling the ball off of it. Recover quickly Scotty.

carbonzip writes:

Opportunity knocks, Renaldo.

iowavol writes:

Get well quickly Scotty and Tobias - we need you and your A game. Time for others to step up and be counted.

VolunteerLifer writes:

And, in other news - Mildcats bit the dust in Oxford. Way to go, Rebels.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

And, in other news - Mildcats bit the dust in Oxford. Way to go, Rebels.

Lifer,

This is true about Cal's boys. Hard to believe this was the same Ole Miss the Vols beat a few days ago.
Indicates Kentucky's one and dones can be had.

UTByrd writes:

Watch Cam Tatum shine.
Go VOLS!!!!!

lomas98 writes:

If there was one game to hand pick to be without any players it would be Auburn. Maybe with Hopson and Harris limited or out, it will be what is needed for rest of team to focus on not losing to Auburn. Ask South Carolina what it means when not focused on this team. Too bad Jordan Mcrae didn't make a better choice. This would be his time to prove what he can do.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

I would not bet against Harris starting Thursday! And as long as Scotty's is not the HIGH ankle variety, then I bet he plays also with a good tape job! I know the trainers will have final say, but I bet both don't want to miss any opportunities! Get well soon! GBO!

esarmstrong#231516 writes:

This is troubling. I guess I am still thinking about that Auburn South Carolina game on Saturday.

Scotty had been coming on along with the rest of the team. If he plays I hope he can make a signifcant contribution. Otherwise, it might be better to let him rest up for the Bama game that is coming up with very little turn around time on Saturday.

tnvol4ever writes:

The SEC West has been looking stronger as of late. Possibly no Scottie scares me a little. I have been a Scottie critic but we need that young man on the court.

CCLC writes:

This weeks SEC power ratings.
1. Kentucky
2. Tennessee
3. Florida
4. Vandy
5. Georgia
6. Arkansas
7. Mississppi
8. South Carolina
9. Alabama
10. Mississippi State
11. LSU
12. Auburn

johnlg00 writes:

I've been as hard on Scotty as almost anybody on this board, but his loss is a serious blow facing a young Auburn team at their place which is just starting to believe in itself. It's obvious some guys have to step up that haven't done much lately, but the program has a history of that happening. Given how tough the Vols' schedule is on the back end, if Scotty or even Tobias have to sit out a couple of games to get completely healthy, so be it.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to MrPearl_STILLHERE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No matter how much talent a team may have, if it struggles after suddenly losing a top-scoring three-year starter, that is not an excuse, it is a REASON. Of course, the Vols were in a similar situation a year ago when Tyler Smith was dismissed and the others suspended. No one gave them a chance against KU, but the others rose to the challenge. I think they will do so again.

The thing is, you obviously need no excuse to criticize the Vols, no matter what they do. If they beat both Auburn and Alabama without Hopson and with Harris either out or at least hobbled as well, you will just say those were chump teams anyway. You would say the same thing if the Vols had their full team at full speed. Obviously, they can never win, according to you.

easleychuck writes:

No reason to cry about something that you can't control.

It is up to the other kids to step it up. Talking about it won't get it done (Cameron). There will be shots available for other guys to take. They will just have to make them count.

Go Vols!

CoverOrange writes:

Don't understand why the decision may be that Scotty doesn't travel with the team. Seems that even if he can't play he should be with the team to support the team. And if he does stay behind can he watch with Bruce or is that a violation of Slive's edict?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Don't understand why the decision may be that Scotty doesn't travel with the team. Seems that even if he can't play he should be with the team to support the team. And if he does stay behind can he watch with Bruce or is that a violation of Slive's edict?

Perhaps someone with real knowledge in this area can correct me, but I have heard that the low air pressure in airliner cabins sometimes causes injured ankles to swell. By staying in K'ville, Scotty can get more therapy so that he MIGHT be able to play against Bama Saturday or at least be ready sooner than he might be otherwise. I don't think watching the game with CBP would violate terms of the suspension, but I DO think it would be an NCAA violation in any case as an "extra benefit".

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Why do they think his ankle sprain is CUTE!?? AAAhhhhhaaaahhaa lmao I"M SO FUNNY get it ACUTE ankle ....CUTE ANKLE!!...Ahhhhaaahhhuhhh where am I?

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