Tennessee small forward Josiah-Jordan James missed the Vols’ opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis with a knee injury that’s plagued him throughout the preseason.
James played in each of Tennessee’s first three games of the season but didn’t dress out against the Bulldogs. Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said James is “questionable” for the Vols’ Thanksgiving Day game against Southern Cal.
“We felt coming in (that he would be out),” Barnes said. “We knew that he wasn’t going to be available today. We’ll wait and see. He’ll be questionable tomorrow. We’ll decide. Day to day.”
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James had a knee scope in the offseason and took things slow in his recovery out of caution. On the court, the senior wing looked great in Tennessee’s first three games of the season averaging 13.7 points and six rebounds per game.
“Felt great,” James said following the season opener. “My knee is not the problem, it’s just me getting my wind back. Trying to get back in game shape is tough because we’re playing really fast, and we’re always going to guard people.”
Five-star freshman Julian Phillips saw a bigger role with James sidelined against Butler. Phillips scored 11 points while adding six rebounds in the win.
Tennessee’s quarterfinal win in the Battle 4 Atlantis over Butler advances the Vols to the semifinals against Southern Cal. Tip-off between Tennessee and USC is at 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.