KNOXVILLE - Tennessee will play the rest of its basketball season without its best player.
The Volunteers' program announced Sunday night that All-SEC forward Jeronne Maymon will redshirt this season and return next season.
Maymon, his family, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin and team training staff and doctors met earlier Sunday to make a decision on the 6-foot-7 senior's season.
"It's really tough to know that I can't be on the court with my teammates this season," Maymon said in the program's release. "But I have confidence in them, just like I have confidence in these coaches and our medical staff. I know this is in my best interest, and I am going to work incredibly hard to come back as an even better player and teammate next season.
"I love Tennessee. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I see this injury as a blessing in disguise. God does not makes mistakes."
Tennessee's second-leading scorer and top rebounder from last season was sidelined during the preseason following two offseason knee surgeries, has yet to resume running or any other on-court activity and is well behind in his conditioning.
All of those factors played a role in the decision to hold him out for the rest of the season, and the eventual outcome became more and more likely as the season wore on without any significant improvement in Maymon's health.
Maymon sat out one season after transferring to Tennessee from Marquette, and he will be able to take a redshirt year he's not used. The Vols will have their on- and off-court leader back next season to combine with Jarnell Stokes and five-star shooting guard Robert Hubbs, who signed with Tennessee in November.
Martin will address the specifics of the decision and Maymon's redshirt during his previously scheduled news conference today at noon.
"For me, 100 percent, that means he's practicing, competing, body's healthy and not trying to get in shape," he said Dec. 20. "All of the above is 100 percent. That means he can compete in a game and play 30 minutes.
"It's not a case of 'OK, the knee looks healthy, now let's get him in shape.' I wouldn't bring him out if there's a month left of the season. I wouldn't do that to Jeronne."
Martin also will update forward Derek Reese's status for Wednesday's SEC opener against Ole Miss in Knoxville. The freshman missed Friday's loss to Memphis after rolling his ankle in practice Thursday. Reese made a big debut against Xavier after a quicker return from a torn labrum in his shoulder.
"It's one of those deals where I let the trainer tell me if he can go or he can't go," Martin said Friday. "The trainer calls it and that's what it is, but he has a tough sprain. There's swelling in his ankle, so it's legitimate."
Point guard Trae Golden has played just 21 and 23 minutes in Tennessee's last two games, but Martin doesn't believe it's related to the junior's bruised shoulder.
"You'd have to ask him that," he said. "When you step on the floor, it's time to play basketball. I don't think it was a factor because he wanted to go back into the game."
Golden is in a 1-of-16 shooting slump over the past three games.