Tennessee provides update on John Fulkerson

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    Tennessee suffered a big loss to its team on Friday when John Fulkerson was knocked out of the game because of a blatant elbow from Florida’s Omar Payne. As the two were heading back up the court, Payne struck Fulkerson in the face with two elbow shots to the face, leaving Fulkerson in visible pain.

    It was announced on Saturday morning that Fulkerson would miss the rest of the SEC Tournament due to the injury. In a recorded message on Friday night to Tennessee fans, Fulkerson was sporting a black eye and said he’d be rooting on his team, but that he didn’t know his status for the rest of the week. As he was getting up off the court and heading to the locker room, you could tell he was hurt, while being helped to the back by trainers.

    On Sunday night, as Rick Barnes was addressing the media regarding the NCAA Tournament selection, an update was provided on Fulkerson. A Tennessee spokesman said that Fulkerson flew back to Knoxville on Sunday morning with trainer Chad Newman for a procedure that was related to the facial fracture he sustained. It was also announced that Fulkerson would arrive back in Nashville on Sunday night, so he could travel with his team to Indianapolis.

    The status for Fulkerson in regards to the NCAA Tournament has yet to be determined, as he also suffered a concussion during the incident on Friday. Tennessee officials said that Fulkerson would be evaluated daily, but gave no timeline for a recovery.

    “He’s been great, you can only imagine how much he wants to be out there, if he could, he would,” Barnes said. “He’ll be back tonight and bus with us tomorrow morning. It’s never about him, I’ve said it before that it’s never gonna be about John Fulkerson. He wants his teammates to win and wants to be a part of it. Believe me, nobody is pulling for him to do that more than his teammates, because they love him and want to see him have a chance to be successful because they know how hard he’s worked over his time here”.

    Having a procedure done on a Sunday, just five days before the team will take the court to play Oregon State, doesn’t give Fulkerson a lot of time to recover. I would have to think his teammates will do everything in their power to give him more time to recover, which means winning on Friday.

    Trey Wallace is a Knoxville-based journalist who has been covering University of Tennessee athletics since early 2018. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football's biggest stories. His vast social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of Vol Nation's most trusted sources. Wallace was born and raised in Mobile, AL and graduated from the University of South Alabama. He loves the mountains as much as the beach and looks forward to living in East Tennessee for many years to come.