Tennessee fans can breathe a sigh of relief. The left ankle injury star freshman guard Jaden Springer suffered against Alabama on Saturday evening inside of Thompson-Boling Arena isn’t as serious as it appeared at the time.
“He (Springer) didn’t work out (on Monday) but he was on the floor (Tuesday) and did pretty much what everybody else did,” Vols head basketball coach Rick Barnes told reporters during his media availability on Tuesday. “He’ll be back. He practiced today.”
Not only will Springer be back, but he’ll be back in Tennessee’s (7-1, 1-1 SEC) very next game against Arkansas (9-1, 1-1 SEC) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET inside of TBA.
Springer only played five minutes in UT’s 71-63 loss to the Crimson Tide over the weekend. He suffered a left ankle injury midway through the first half and had to check himself out of the game. Though Springer worked with the training staff in the tunnel in an effort to return to the game, he never did.
The five-star freshman has been one of Tennessee’s best players this season. Though he has yet to start in a game this season, Springer is a key reserve and is the team’s best shooter from a field goal percentage (.547) perspective of Vols who averaged at least 10.0 minutes per game. Springer is 7-of-10 from three this season.
The importance of his return, in the eyes of Barnes, can’t be emphasized enough.
“It’s important,” Barnes said of Springer’s return. “We basically played the game the other day without two guys that we count on quite a bit. I still think we’re good enough to handle what goes on, but we didn’t.
“I’m hoping guys stay healthy and (we) get our best group of guys out there and the combination we put out there can play well and do what we need them to do.”
Tennessee will look to get back on track against Arkansas on Wednesday night following its loss to the Crimson Tide over the week, its first loss of the season. The Razorbacks are coming off of their first loss of the season as well, a 13-point defeat to Missouri, who the Vols beat by 20 in their SEC opener a week ago.
UT will travel to Texas A&M (6-2, 1-1 SEC) following its matchup with the Hogs. Tipoff on Saturday in College State with the Aggies is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.