Tennessee point guard Trae Golden to play despite broken nose

Tennessee point guard Trae Golden to play despite broken nose

December 20th, 2011 by Patrick Brown in Sports - College

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) shoots the ball during an NCAA college basketball game against Louisiana-Monroe in the first half on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) shoots the ball...

Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee point guard Trae Golden suffered a broken nose at the end of Friday's practice and missed practice Saturday and Sunday, but the sophomore is expected to play tonight when the Volunteers host UNC-Asheville.

The sophomore point guard could "possibly" have surgery the day after UT hosts The Citadel on Dec. 29, UT coach Cuonzo Martin said Monday. Golden will not wear a protective mask.

"I think he has some toughness to him," Martin said. "You can't worry about that. It's part of it."

Martin is familiar with the injury. He broke his nose as a sophomore at Purdue in a loss to Indiana.

"I didn't bother getting it fixed," Martin said. "It didn't look as bad, so I kept rolling. Maybe it does look bad, I don't know, [but] it was painful. I didn't want to have the surgery because I might miss some games."

Should Golden take another hit on the nose or struggle, Wes Washpun could get more playing time after not playing last week at College of Charleston "if he continues to work hard," Martin said. The athletic Washpun has done that in practice since Golden got hurt, but he's still adjusting to the strength and pace of the college game despite his abilities as an on-ball defender.

Josh Richardson, who's been playing more of a wing position, could get some minutes at the point as well. Martin said he'd prefer to use the 6-foot-6 freshman elsewhere.

"I don't want to bog him down with being a point, being on the wing, being a defensive stopper, slashing to the basket," the coach said. "You want to try to simplify things for him even though he has the capacity to do those things. I'd rather not have him bring the ball up if we have the option."

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@timesfreepress.com or 901-581-7288. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/patrickbrowntfp.