Following No. 21 Tennessee’s 75-53 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena, Vols senior point guard Lamonte Turner announced that it was his last game as a Vol and that he will have season-ending shoulder surgery.
“I played my last game as a Vol tonight,” Turner said following the game. “A lot of people know I’ve been battling injury. We haven’t know what’s wrong, or what’s going on, but as of two weeks ago we finally figured out that I have thoracic outlet syndrome.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib are compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck, and numbness in your fingers.
“It’s been affecting my nerves, which explains my shot and all the stuff I’ve been battling,” Turner explained. “So, I’m choosing to have surgery.”
The surgery will not only end Turner’s season, but his career as a Vol as he is a redshirt senior. Turner finishes his career with 1,086 career points, 347 assists, 308 rebounds, and 98 steals.
“It’s a tough decision for me to make, but I have to do it for my health,” Turner explained. “Because if I don’t, it could get worse.
“It’s the same injury that Markelle Fultz (Orlando Magic point guard) dealt with. The only difference is mine is in my left shoulder, not my shooting shoulder, so, it’s not as bad. We’ve been doing therapy the last two or three weeks. I got a shot in my chest, my muscles to try and fix it, but it didn’t really help.”
Turner and his family made the final call to have surgery on Friday, the night before Tennessee’s game with Jacksonville State. In his final game as a Vol, Turner scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and dished out 11 assists. He also had three rebounds and a steal.
“Just to know that was my last time to play a game on my home court, on the court I’ve been playing on the last five years, it’s all I know,” Turner said. “I try to give my all every time I step out there on that court and today I went out there with the mindset to just have fun no matter what happened, no matter the outcome, no matter the mistake I made.
“It’s tough. I cried when I came back in the locker room knowing that was my last time stepping out there. I’ve cried plenty of times though this injury.”