University of Alabama coach Avery Johnson said Friday that a decision about freshman guard Collin Sexton’s return to the lineup will be a “game-time decision” after the team’s leading scorer goes through a limited practice and an examination of an abdominal injury that sidelined him for the Crimson Tide’s win over Auburn on Wednesday night.
UA will be back in action Saturday night, hosting Mississippi State in a sold-out contest at 7:30 p.m. CT.
“I have no expectations until I see him on the floor,” Johnson said at his Friday press conference. “The injury happened on Monday (so) I haven’t seen him run or sweat in several days. We’re going to go through some non-contact specific drills and see how that goes, then we will test him on game day. The test on Wednesday (before the Auburn game) took about 10 seconds. He couldn’t run.
“You just never know,” Johnson added. “Last year, Avery Jr. had a similar injury and was able to bounce back in about 48 hours and play at Missouri. But we will see.
“This is not just about Alabama playing a game. It’s about the health and safety of our kids. That’s our priority.”
The news was better on Donta Hall, the Crimson Tide’s junior center. Hall played 15 minutes against Auburn on Wednesday and is expected to be available for the Mississippi State game. That will be important against a strong MSU front line.
The Bulldogs are coming to Tuscaloosa off a home win over Vanderbilt in which 6-foot-10 forward Aric Holman had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“Holman is a challenge and then they can go with him and Abdul Ado who is almost seven feet tall and 250 pounds,” Johnson said. “Then they have (Quindarry) Weatherspoon and his brother (Nick). I’ve seen Lamar Peters getting some mention in the pre-NBA draft articles…so we better be ready to play.”
The game has been announced as a sellout by the UA ticket office, prompting Johnson to take a moment to praise the UA fans.
“We’ve tried to do three things,” Johnson said. “We’ve tried to get our students involved. We have tried to be visible on campus, asking our players to be approachable on campus. That has worked. Our students have really supported us. Second, we wanted to get people in the building, our season-ticket holders. Third, when they are in the building, we want them making noise at a high decibel level. We’ve gotten that and it is up to us to give back — playing hard, diving on floor, taking charges. We’ve tried to live up to that.”
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.
Alabama vs. Mississippi State
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Coleman Coliseum
Records: Alabama 12-6 (4-2 SEC), Mississippi State (14-4, 2-3 SEC)
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 95.3 FM