Tennessee guard Freddie Dilione suffered a partial tear in his plantar fascia, Vols’ coach Rick Barnes shared on Friday evening. The injury will cause Dilione to miss the Maui Invitational and the redshirt freshman will be day-to-day once the team returns to Tennessee.
“What I heard is partial tear in his plantar fasciitis down there,” Barnes said. “But I haven’t even asked about time table yet. I think it varies on the degree that it’s partially torn.”
Dilione has dealt with fasciitis in his foot for a couple weeks but it didn’t become public knowledge until Tuesday night when the combo guard played just two minutes in the Vols’ win over Wofford and spent the second half on the bench with a boot on his left foot.
While Barnes didn’t have a definitive timeline during his Friday press conference, here’s what he had to say when asked if it’s fair to say Dilione won’t play in next week’s Maui Invitational and could miss additional time afterwards.
“I would think that’s a fair assessment,” Barnes said. “I should have asked (trainer) Chad (Newman) before I cam here but I just know— when I was there when the results came back the other day they thought it could be a week, week and a half. That’s what they said. From there it’ll depend on his progression and what he can do. He’d been having some problems with it and he was trying to push through every thing he could. During the game he just said he felt something pop and he partially tore it.”
The MRI took play on Wednesday morning so the very best case scenario seems like a potential return against North Carolina on Nov. 29.
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There was never a play during the Wofford game where Dilione appeared to suffer an injury but Barnes said postgame that Dilione “felt like something popped” during the game.
Dilione was the highest rated recruit in Tennessee’s 2023 signing class before early enrolling at Tennessee last January and practicing with the team while redshirting the season.
The 6-foot-5 guard is in the midst of a battle for playing time in a crowded Tennessee backcourt. Tennessee returned guards Zakai Zeigler, Santiago Vescovi and Jahmai Mashack from last season’s team in addition to adding USC Upstate transfer Jordan Gainey.
Gainey has been one of Tennessee’s better players in the early stages of the season as has transfer wing Dalton Knecht who’s shown a strong capability to playing shooting guard.
Dilione totaled seven points in 16 minutes in the Vols’ season opener against Tennessee Tech before not scoring in three minutes against Wisconsin and not scoring before exiting the Wofford game with an injury.
The 2023 Maui Invitational is a loaded field with five of the eight teams currently ranked in the nation’s top 12. Tennessee begins tournament play on Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET against the Syracuse Orange. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.