published Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Golden out for Tennessee with hamstring injury

  • photo
    Tennessee's Trae Golden, left, celebrates with teammate D'Montre Edwards after defeating Alabama in an NCAA college basketball game in Knoxville.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


After the Sports Business Journal revealed the University of Tennessee athletic department's $200 million debt in report on Monday, ESPN published a report Tuesday night that shows such figures are not uncommon in the big-money SEC.

In its 2010-11 financial disclosures to the NCAA, both Alabama ($207 million) and LSU ($202 million) posted similar debt numbers, according to the report. During that fiscal year, Tennessee ($188 million) was third-highest amount of outstanding debt in the league, and its annual debt service payments were fifth-most in the league behind Alabama, LSU, Georgia and Auburn.

Tennessee's debt payments jumped from $7.7 million in 2010-11 to $13.5 million in 2011-12, according to the report.

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee point guard Trae Golden is doubtful to play Saturday at Arkansas.

Beyond the weekend, though, the Volunteers are unsure how much more time Golden will miss.

The junior, who's struggled mightily this season, strained his right hamstring late in the first half and did not return to Tennessee's 58-57 win against Vanderbilt in Knoxville on Tuesday night.

Golden underwent an MRI on Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury, and coach Cuonzo Martin said Wednesday evening the test will determine if Golden suffered just a strain, pull or tear.

No Golden would mean more playing time for Brandon Lopez, the walk-on from Knoxville who registered three key assists and played good defense on the Commodores' last-second shot.

"The one thing about Lopez is he's not fazed by the opponent," Martin said after Tuesday's win. "That does not bother him. He's not worried about any of that.

"He battles and competes, but it's a credit to him because he's mentally locked into the games and he's ready to go. I was not worried about putting him into the game. He's one of the guys telling a guy who comes out of the game what's going on and tells them to be ready because this is about to happen."

Though Golden is not a true point guard, his struggles have magnified Tennessee's problem at the position. Jordan McRae is forced to become the team's primary ball-handler, though it's not in the 6-foot-6 wing's repertoire. After beginning the season as Golden's backup, freshman Armani Moore has thrived playing off the ball.

A preseason All-SEC second-team selection, Golden is averaging just 10 points per game and is shooting 35 percent from the field and 24 percent on 3-pointers after averaging nearly 14 points and shooting 44 and 39 percent last season. Since bruising his shoulder against Xavier, Golden lost his starting spot, and he's reached double-figure scoring just twice in that nine-game stretch.

Now his nightmare season may be taking another bad turn.

about Patrick Brown...

Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...

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