When Zakai Zeigler didn’t pop up off the ground after hitting the deck early within the sport in opposition to Arkansas, you knew one thing was up. One have a look at his face on the bottom confirmed these fears. Another look as he was lifted and helped to the locker room left little question.
Zakai Zeigler suffered a torn ACL on Tuesday evening, Tennessee formally introduced on Wednesday. He was operating the baseline and his knee buckled at an ungainly angle, and the ache was on the spot.
Just like Hendon Hooker on the soccer aspect, Tennessee misplaced a beloved No. 5 to a torn ACL within the penultimate sport of the common season — simply a completely brutal finish to each of their seasons.
Tennessee went on to beat Arkansas final evening, 75-57.
Not that it was an enormous thriller, however Rick Barnes’ tone throughout his press convention all however confirmed issues final evening. He mentioned with the media his choices going ahead at level guard with match season looming. On Tuesday, Barnes went to Santiago Vescovi with out Tyreke Key out there, whereas additionally leaning on Josiah-Jordan James and even somewhat on Julian Phillips and Jahmai Mashack.
“They were working (Vescovi) pretty much all night long,” Barnes stated after the sport. “They were really trying to take away his left hand and putting pressure on him. But you know, I thought he got himself in a little bit of trouble a few times. But I thought Jahmai Mashack handled the ball (well), Julian, Josiah, all those guys. We’ve talked about that, when those guys get the ball, let’s not put so much pressure on one guy to handle it, let’s bring it down the court and get started.”
Key missed his second straight sport as a consequence of ankle swelling on Tuesday. He’s a man that the employees turned to early within the 12 months once they had been attempting to construct depth at level guard. Now, assuming he’s in a position to return, you’d assume that point operating level early within the 12 months would repay.
“We will get Tyreke back,” Barnes stated. “We need him to get back. We know what he is capable of. We will do it I guess by committee if that is how you look at it but we have always kind of done that the last couple years.”
Another choice is true freshman BJ Edwards, who has discovered some enjoying time late within the 12 months. Edwards didn’t play in opposition to Arkansas, however could possibly be an choice shifting ahead.
“I’m not going to count out BJ Edwards either,” Barnes famous. “He’s a guy that — you talk about the improvement of those big guys. He’s improved tremendously here in the last month. I’m sure we’ll need him going forward too.”
Tennessee circled the wagons as soon as Zeigler went down in opposition to Arkansas. They outworked the Razorbacks on each ends of the ground, profitable the rebounding battle, factors within the paint, all whereas enjoying smothering protection. But can that final with out their ground common?
The Volunteers have one common season sport left on Saturday — a highway journey to Auburn. Then it’s on to Nashville for the SEC Tournament, after which the NCAA Tournament within the following week. Barnes goes to have to regulate on the fly, and the load of Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James, Julian Phillips and Jahmai Mashack simply went by means of the roof. Let’s see how they reply.