Tennessee Expects James To Play Again At South Carolina

Tennessee Expects James To Play Again At South Carolina

Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee senior forward Josiah-Jordan James returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Mississippi State as he continues to battle knee pain that’s plagued him since the preseason.

James has played in just six games this season and hasn’t played in more than three consecutive games all year. However, eighth year Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes is optimistic James will play again Saturday at South Carolina.

“Yeah,” Barnes said on whether he expects James to play. “Again he probably wanted to practice more yesterday than we allowed him to but I said after the game we’re going to have to manage him throughout the whole year because he’s that important to us that we need to make sure we can have him every game.”

James detailed the improvements in his status recently following the win over Mississippi State after taking new medicine and altering his treatment plan.

“I’m on some new medicine,” James said postgame. “I’ve been on it for about three-or-four days now. It’s definitely just helped with the pain. I haven’t felt any pain since three-or-four days ago when I got on the new medicine so hopefully we just keep moving forward and keep treatment up right now.”

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Tennessee trainer Chad Newman and strength coach Garrett Medenwald have put an emphasis on strengthening the muscles around his knee, most notable his hamstring and glutes.

“Working on things not only with my knee, but things around my knee to take pressure and relieve pain from the general area that it was hurting,” James said. “I do exercises when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I have a whole routine that I have to do that I feel has definitely paid off.”

Last month, James said the injury would be a “game-t0-game thing” throughout the season but is hopeful the new medicine and treatment will make him more frequently available.

James played well in his return to the court, missing his first two shots before making the next three and finishing with en eight point, four assist performance.

Even when he’s played this season, James has been a limited participant in practice. The senior wing has been more active during practice in the past week and did full five-on-five team work Friday.

Tip-off between Tennessee and South Carolina is at 3:30 p.m. ET at Colonial Life Arena. Kevin Fitzgerald and Mark Wise are on the call for the SEC Network.

Author: Ethan Moore