Cuonzo Martin delivered some wince-worthy words for Tennessee basketball prior to today's practice.
"Jeronne (Maymon) had a minor setback so we probably won't have him at the start of the season," Martin said.
Maymon, a preseason All-SEC second team selection on Monday, is the Vols' leading returning scorer and rebounder. The senior underwent microscopic knee surgery following last season and briefly played in two of Tennessee's four games during an offseason overseas trip to Italy.
Through preseason practices, though, Maymon has remained firmly on the sideline. He has participated in stretching and light conditioning drills, but not seen any action on the floor.
On Monday, Maymon was one of six players named to the All-SEC preseason second team. He landed on the second team after last season, when he averaged a team-high 12.7 ppg and 8.1 rpg.
"You're not talking about a guy that doesn't play," Martin said. "You're talking about a major factor in your program."
Despite being one of five seniors on the UT roster, Maymon is considered the Vols' vocal leader. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound forward started 32 of UT's 34 games and scored at least 12 points in every regular-season SEC game.
"When you have that type of mental leadership, mental toughness, and obviously the skill level speaks for itself, that type of leader doesn't come by day to day," Martin said.
Martin added that Maymon is "obviously not lost for the season," but offered no timetable for his return. Asked if he was in shape otherwise, Martin responded, "I don't think he's at the level where he could play a game right now."
More Injuries: Dwight Miller, who hyper-extended his right knee in March and underwent surgery, is slowly trying to work his way back.
“He’s moving a lot better, but he hasn’t been in practice situations, outside of five or 10 minutes worth of ball-handling drills,” Martin said.
At basketball media day two weeks ago, Miller said his knee was “coming along day-to-day” and “definitely a lot better than it was in August.”
Amid ongoing rehabilitation, Miller said he’s solely worried about strengthening the knee and mentioned he’d “hopefully be ready in November.”
“I’d like to be back for the season.”
Miller is in a tough spot. The fifth-year senior hopes to wiggle himself into a deep frontcourt rotation featuring Maymon and Jarnell Stokes, a pair of preseason All-SEC selections, along with veteran forward Kenny Hall and ever-improving sophomore Yemi Makanjuola.
Time spent on the sideline doesn’t help.
“It’s something I think about,” he said. “Those guys are those guys, but at the same time I want to contribute and I’ll do everything I can to be one of those guys. … I’m starting from the back of the heap.”
If his role in 2012-13 ultimately comes down to being an upperclassman leader off the court, Miller said he’ll embrace it. Despite the disappointment.
Closed-Door Scrimmage: The season is officially around the corner. Tennessee, picked to finish fourth in Monday’s SEC preseason media poll, hits the floor Sunday.
The Vols will face Georgia Tech in a closed-door preseason scrimmage at Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena. Only team personnel and three referees will be permitted inside.
Georgia Tech went 11-20 in Brian Gregory’s first year as coach last season.
The teams agreed to scrimmage in Chattanooga so that each could treat it as a road game. UTC falls directly between the schools’ campuses in Knoxville and Atlanta.
The game’s officials will be from the SEC.
The NCAA allows teams to play either two closed-door scrimmages against other Division I programs, two exhibitions against non-DI teams that are open to fans and media or a combination of the two.
The Vols will play host to Victory University of Memphis in an open exhibition on Nov. 5 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/BFQuinn