Tennessee junior point guard Zakai Zeigler is out for Sunday afternoon’s exhibition game against Michigan State according to a Tennessee spokesperson.
Zeigler is working his way back from a knee injury which ended his sophomore season. The point guard tore his ACL on the final day of February in Tennessee’s win over Arkansas. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes previously said Zeigler is questionable for the charity exhibition.
“And I think we won’t know with Zakai until probably Saturday when we get through a practice,” Barnes said on Wednesday. “And you know, when he’s been fully cleared. And he’s starting to do more in practice. Yesterday he pretty much went through the majority of practice yesterday. I think he’ll do a lot today in the scrimmage when we get going today.”
Zeigler is very close to at 100% just under eight months after suffering the injury. The Preseason Second Team All-SEC selection was a full participant in Tennessee’s Wednesday practice open to the media this week and scored seven points in a 20-minute simulated scrimmage.
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The undersized point guard isn’t the only key Vol that isn’t active against Michigan State. Fellow All-SEC shooting guard Santiago Vescovi is out for the exhibition game after traveling back home to Uruguay due to a family matter on Thursday.
According to Tennessee basketball’s game notes, the Vols’ projected starting backcourt with Zeigler and Vescovi out is USC Upstate guard Jordan Gainey and junior Jahmai Mashack.
Redshirt freshman Freddie Dilione will also see an increase of minutes with Zeigler and Vescovi out.
The preseason exhibition game is a matchup between two top 10 teams. The Spartans returned the vast majority of the production from last season’s Sweet 16 team.
Tip-off between Tennessee and Michigan State is at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon. Connor Onion and Bill Raftery are on the call for the call for Big 10 Network.