Tennessee starting wing Julian Phillips is out for the Vols’ marquee Wednesday night matchup against No. 1 Alabama. Phillips did not go through pregame warmups with his Tennessee teammates.
Phillips injured his hip in a Tennessee practice ahead of its Saturday matchup with Missouri and after scoring four points in 10 minutes in the first half, the freshman wing was unavailable to return for the second half.
According to Rick Barnes Monday, Phillips was a game time decision for the top 10 tilt between the Crimson Tide and Volunteers.
“I was really impressed with Julian,” Barnes said. “He was hurt, he had hurt his hip flexor prior to that. His minutes, he was there, he was productive. But I could tell when we were walking off the court at halftime he was painfully hurting. But he wanted to play, but just no way.”
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Phillips’ absences is magnified by the unavailability of fellow starting wing Josiah-Jordan James. James is missing his second consecutive game after spraining his ankle in the final minute of Tennessee’s loss at Vanderbilt.
No game is good to be down two starters but facing No. 1 Alabama and SEC Player of the Year frontrunner Brandon Miller is particularly poor timing. The 6-foot-9 wing is averaging 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
With Phillips and James sidelined, Jahmai Mashack and Tyreke Key will step into a bigger role.
Tip-off between the Vols and Crimson Tide is at 7 p.m. ET. Karl Ravech, Jay Bilas and Alyssa Lang are on the call for ESPN2.