Pearl 'concerned' over Williams' back woes

Tennessee center Brian Williams dunks the ball during the game against South Carolina at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011.  Williams scored 10 points with nine rebounds during the Vols 73-67 defeat of the Gamecocks.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee center Brian Williams dunks the ball during the game against South Carolina at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. Williams scored 10 points with nine rebounds during the Vols 73-67 defeat of the Gamecocks.

Brian Williams, Tennessee’s biggest inside presence, would leave a big hole in the lineup if a bad back keeps him on the bench at South Carolina.

Williams missed a second day of basketball practice Tuesday due to a sore back.

“I am concerned,’’ coach Bruce Pearl said. “That’s two days we’ve kept him down. His back is really tight.’’

The Vols (17-12, 7-7 SEC) could ill afford to lose Williams for Thursday’s visit to face the Gamecocks (14-13, 5-9), where they’ll find the SEC’s leading shot-blocker, Sam Muldrow.

Tip-off at the Colonial Center is 7 p.m. (TV: ESPN).

Pearl said the 6-foot-10, 272-pound Williams has “historically” had a back issue and it flared up after the loss to Mississippi State on Saturday.

“I don’t think he said anything after the game,’’ Pearl said. “He came in on Sunday morning.’’

Williams was at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday but getting treatment rather than being on the court.

He averages 7.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game.

“If Brian can’t go,’’ said Pearl, “it takes our best five man, a guy that’s a sixth-man-of-the-year candidate (in the SEC), a really good passer against the zone and an important rebounder.’’

Muldrow averages 3.3 blocks per game — 4.0 in SEC play. He rejected six UT shots in the Vols’ 73-67 win in Knoxville on Feb. 16.

Williams is somewhat unusual for a five-man in that he is arguably Tennessee’s best passer. He matched a career high with five assists against the Gamecocks and then matched it again the next game against Georgia.

John Fields, who starts so that Williams can come off the bench, was sick Tuesday and received two bags of fluid in the morning. Pearl expects Fields to be ready for the Gamecocks.

“The other guys have got to step up,’’ Pearl said. “Jeronne Maymon has been playing some more and Kenny Hall has stayed ready.

“It’s an area we have some depth in and we’re going to tap into that depth.’’

Different Stakes: While both teams badly need a win Thursday night, their objectives differ, according to Pearl:

“We’re trying to play our way in the NCAA tournament and they’re trying to play their way into the NIT, really.’’

The Gamecocks might take exception with that but the only way they could make the NCAA field is win the SEC tournament and the league’s automatic bid.

South Carolina is already locked in as the East sixth seed. If the Gamecocks and Vols both finish 7-9, Tennessee wins the tie-breaker because of a better Eastern Division record.

Jackson’s Back: South Carolina got small forward Lakeem Jackson back Saturday in a loss at Georgia.

Jackson, who averages 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds, missed several games, including Tennessee, due to a foot injury.

Practice: Pearl backed off Tuesday after a physical practice on Monday. The focus was more on the scouting report and South Carolina.

The Vols work at Thompson-Boling Arena again today, then leave for Columbia.

Giving Back: Melvin Goins was UT’s representative on the SEC Community Service team. Goins participated in numerous community-related activities.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 48

ravensearay writes:

This doesn't look good...........

Greyfeathers writes:

Lyin' Bruce is laying the groundwork for another loss. His days are numbered... Goodbye Lyin' Bruce.

Ironcity writes:

Would love to see Hall seize the job. Unfortunately he usually just gets into foul trouble.

DTvols118 writes:

great, if we lose to SC were pretty much done..

Greatbasicswin writes:

Last year we had 4 of our better players not available and we beat the #1 team in the nation. I believe we have some good players that can come in and answer the call if they get a chance. GO VOLS!!!

PHAT_VOL writes:

This season continues to be a disaster. GO VOLS !!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Get better Brian! Be ready Hall and Fields.

UTByrd writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

This season continues to be a disaster. GO VOLS !!

This disaster you're alluding to used to be considered a great year before CBP arrived on campus.
Go VOLS!!!!!

Razor784 writes:

in response to UTByrd:

This disaster you're alluding to used to be considered a great year before CBP arrived on campus.
Go VOLS!!!!!

That's exactly right, this would have been a banner year for Buzzball, and without all the distractions next year, Bruce will definitely right the ship

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to Greatbasicswin:

Last year we had 4 of our better players not available and we beat the #1 team in the nation. I believe we have some good players that can come in and answer the call if they get a chance. GO VOLS!!!

I like your thinking but this year it's not working..Fields starts a lot but gets pulled 6 minutes into the game after scoring 0 points.Maymon puzzles me;He's not afraid to drive to the hoop and makes the occasional nice lay in but most of the his shots bounce wildly off the backboard..I will never understand how a former Mr Basketball in Wisconsin can barely hit the rim on his FT's..Hall's lack of playing time hasn't helped him much this year but he's handling the ball better and has a softer touch..Iam certain Kenny will develop into a 10 ppg scorer next year

The_Mayor writes:

"Houston, we......

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know about the "true fans" inference, but this post is one I might actually agree with...somewhat.

born2ride writes:

A few tokes and Brian will be good to go.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

olive skirt, why did you drive all the way to green bay just to see flar-duh play alabubba? don't you live in flar-duh? no wonder you gaturd dolts are running IQs around room temperature.

back to the subject. get well, brain. you have a chance for payback in a week.

charlyand#601962 writes:

in response to Greatbasicswin:

Last year we had 4 of our better players not available and we beat the #1 team in the nation. I believe we have some good players that can come in and answer the call if they get a chance. GO VOLS!!!

I like the way you think!!

everydayisorange writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

0 and 2 and 1 and 27.Anything else to add Mr. Herman Mathews.You only wish peabody were this good!

everydayisorange writes:

in response to born2ride:

A few tokes and Brian will be good to go.

Ride em out,push em in!Climb back on your broke down harley and leave the message boards to knowledgeable sports fans loser!

cdldoc#211897 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good post. Keep it up.

zigvol writes:

I love TN. vols sports through thick and thin. That being said F-U fairweather vol fans. GO VOLS

tnvol4ever writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You nailed it brother. Rough year but the best stretch of basketball ever for UT since Pearl came to Knoxville.

FeelVol writes:

Pearl has wasted Fields this year as in not given him enough of a chance to play.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Herman, you consistently come on here and bash UT because of your little vendetta against UT for firing your best buddy Fulmer. How about you put on your big-boy pants and move on. The majority of us have.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Who Clinton? Charlie Sheen? Who u talkin' 'bout? I know you're talking abou...Hey wait a minute how do you know my cousin Steve?

bclaw24 writes:

I can't believe people are worried about Williams because from where I sit he stinks and doesnt box out a soul so I hope his back stays tight Ithink it will make us better

bclaw24 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

O my goodness pal let it go Fulmer killed our program and destroyed everything we stood for and you honestly think he worked hard the last few years.... NOOOOOO!!!! Pearl is my favorite coach ever at UT and if he goes so will the program so Keep Pearl and please get over Fulmer hes gone forever and I for one am relieved

Ironcity writes:

in response to FeelVol:

Pearl has wasted Fields this year as in not given him enough of a chance to play.

I would have loved for Fields to be better the a mid major center but he isn't. Lots of energy limited skills. Similar to a lot of players on this team.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to Greatbasicswin:

Last year we had 4 of our better players not available and we beat the #1 team in the nation. I believe we have some good players that can come in and answer the call if they get a chance. GO VOLS!!!

What chance are you talking about? They have had 28 chances so far without results. Hope for the NCAA tournament,but look to getting in the NIT.

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to Razor784:

That's exactly right, this would have been a banner year for Buzzball, and without all the distractions next year, Bruce will definitely right the ship

We may have a decent team next year but Bruce won't be turning anything around next year. You can bank on the fact that if we keep him, he won't be coaching next year

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

What chance are you talking about? They have had 28 chances so far without results. Hope for the NCAA tournament,but look to getting in the NIT.

I think we'll make the tourney. I think we'll win a couple! I think we'll win the SEC!!!!? I think that elephant over in the corner is really pink!!
All we can do is hope....that the pink elephant is not really a red one!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Hey everybody...it's BPearl's last home game this year! So come out and support your coach. He needs it and so does the team.
(This post is a sample of posting positive)

Smokey_Chow writes:

Here is why I think UT will surprise us..

http://www.smokeychow.com/2011/03/vol...

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The game is on Sunday!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to huntined#565710:

The game is on Sunday!!!

Shhhhh!PMGo doesn't need to know!

kazoo writes:

I hope Williams's back improves. Without him, UT will have NO--zero--inside game. Even with him, our inside game is weak. Williams has got the perfect (wide) body to be a strong low post scorer. But unfortunately, his offensive skill set is limited. If he had some moves and touch around the basket, he could score 16 a game--easy. Instead, he scores 7. That is one big reason why UT's offense is mediocre.

samvol writes:

he has wasted Hall, Wooldridge and Maymon’s time all season.... we don’t win without Wooldridge in the Kansas game last season.....OH...but wait, he has Pearl Jr. so we should be fine.

samvol writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

I like your thinking but this year it's not working..Fields starts a lot but gets pulled 6 minutes into the game after scoring 0 points.Maymon puzzles me;He's not afraid to drive to the hoop and makes the occasional nice lay in but most of the his shots bounce wildly off the backboard..I will never understand how a former Mr Basketball in Wisconsin can barely hit the rim on his FT's..Hall's lack of playing time hasn't helped him much this year but he's handling the ball better and has a softer touch..Iam certain Kenny will develop into a 10 ppg scorer next year

Hall will develop...but not with that lying cheating Pearl...

mocsandvolsfan writes:

samvols an idiot! No not because he's dumb. Because he disagrees with me about SPearl and Woolridge. Woolridge doesn't care about bball? SPearl does.

samvol writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

samvols an idiot! No not because he's dumb. Because he disagrees with me about SPearl and Woolridge. Woolridge doesn't care about bball? SPearl does.

I’ve been called worse by much better. How can Wooldridge not love the game of basketball when he grew up amongst some of the greatest bb players of all time. He has not lost interest and the love, Bruce has not let him develop, he has kept him on the bench for most of the time he has been at Tenn. I say it again, we don’t beat Kansas without Wooldridge on the floor last season.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to bclaw24:

I can't believe people are worried about Williams because from where I sit he stinks and doesnt box out a soul so I hope his back stays tight Ithink it will make us better

Williams: #2 offensive rebounder in the SEC; #3 career active rebounder in the SEC. You: 1000th ranked poster on this board.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

We may have a decent team next year but Bruce won't be turning anything around next year. You can bank on the fact that if we keep him, he won't be coaching next year

Next year will NOT be a decent team, with or without CBP.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to Greyfeathers:

Lyin' Bruce is laying the groundwork for another loss. His days are numbered... Goodbye Lyin' Bruce.

good bye no body, your comments aren't warrented here

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to ztoshiningz2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the little fat kid that could

Biggie writes:

in response to Greyfeathers:

Lyin' Bruce is laying the groundwork for another loss. His days are numbered... Goodbye Lyin' Bruce.

Fire truck you

johnlg00 writes:

in response to samvol:

I’ve been called worse by much better. How can Wooldridge not love the game of basketball when he grew up amongst some of the greatest bb players of all time. He has not lost interest and the love, Bruce has not let him develop, he has kept him on the bench for most of the time he has been at Tenn. I say it again, we don’t beat Kansas without Wooldridge on the floor last season.

Apparently he hasn't been showing enough in practice to justify playing time, and this on a team that plays 10 or more guys a game. When he has gotten in a game, he has been good for a couple of air-ball threes, no defense, and no rebounding. Woolridge may be a nice guy and may be a decent hip-hop artist, though I am not one to judge in that area, but whether or not he grew up around basketball, he just doesn't seem to have much of a hunger to get better at it. I loved his performance in last year's Kansas game and have wondered where his game went ever since.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to PearlMustGo:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

some one let the gimp out, Zed, put em back please

Einstein writes:

We definitely need Brian. He is the only post player who actually can play. Next year looks bleak with no post players signed and Williams and Fields gone. That leaves Hall and Maymon (UGH!!!). If Harris and Hobson leave early for the NBA, we are in deep trouble.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I would have loved for Fields to be better the a mid major center but he isn't. Lots of energy limited skills. Similar to a lot of players on this team.

Fields probably could develope into a great forward if Pearl would keep his son on the bench where he belongs. I would rather see Tyler Summitt playing than Steve (I can't dribble or shoot but my daddy is the coach) Pearl.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to samvol:

I’ve been called worse by much better. How can Wooldridge not love the game of basketball when he grew up amongst some of the greatest bb players of all time. He has not lost interest and the love, Bruce has not let him develop, he has kept him on the bench for most of the time he has been at Tenn. I say it again, we don’t beat Kansas without Wooldridge on the floor last season.

First of all that statement is ridiculous! Ok all of those statements are just silly! Especially the being called idiot by better than me.
Seriously don't you know anyone who may have grown up a certain way that seems burnt out or not interested in the same things their parents were? Some of those "better" name callers probably agree that Woolridge hasn't seemed that interested in ball. I'm all for second third and fourth chances. But so far that Kansas game was a fluke!
Prove me wrong Woolridge! I'd love that.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features