Tennessee center Uros Plavsic didn’t dress out for the Vols Wednesday night against Florida Gulf Coast.
Plavsic rolled his ankle in the first half of Tennessee’s loss at Colorado and the senior could be back on the court sooner than originally expected.
“He turned his ankle,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “Actually (athletic trainer) Chad (Newman) told me yesterday he thought it would be a two-week deal, but he doesn’t think that now because he’s really responded well. He feels like most of the swelling is gone. He’s walking. He told me today, I saw him prior to the game today, and he said coach I feel like I’m walking normal. I think he’ll be ready to play next week.”
The good news for Plavsic and Tennessee is that the Vols have a full week off following their victory over the Eagles. Tennessee returns to the court Wednesday, Nov. 23 against Butler in its first of three games at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
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Against FGCU, Tennessee had no issues without Plavsic’s minutes and production.
The Vols got solid front court production thanks to Olivier Nkamhoua’s game-high 18 points (tied with Josiah-Jordan Hames) but added just one rebound. Jonas Aidoo added three rebounds and two assists after missing Tuesday’s practice with a fever.
“I told (Olivier Nkamhoua) that I thought he really did a good job because we worked hard yesterday really trying to play inside-out,” Barnes said. “I told him that although he had just one rebound, but it was a compliment to our guards.”
Plavsic’s absence allowed freshman big man Tobe Awaka to gain valuable game minutes. The buff puppy flashed his potential in seven minutes while still looking far off from his high potential. Still, the experience against the Eagles will be beneficial if Plavsic can’t play next week.
“That’s why we’re trying to get Tobe out there early and try to establish him,” Barnes said. “Think about it, he came up with 5 rebounds, and that’s what he does, but he can score the ball better. He’s putting himself in a bad position because he’s putting his feet too close together. He’s trying to figure out when he plays quick and when he has a chance to hold it and get a feel.”
Tennessee is 2-1 following its victory over the Eagles and now turns its attention to a critical three days in The Bahamas.