Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Notae misses practice, but Musselman hopeful he'll play at Alabama
LSU forward Mwani Wilkinson, left, and Arkansas guard JD Notae (1) vie for the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Baton Rouge, La. (Hilary Scheinuk/The Advocate via AP)
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard JD Notae did not practice Thursday, one day after he injured his shoulder during the Razorbacks' 92-76 loss at LSU.
Notae returned to the game after suffering the injury during the second half. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said he is hopeful Notae will play Saturday when the Razorbacks are scheduled to face Alabama at Coleman Coliseum.
"Hopefully he'll be fine," Musselman said Friday. "I don't know. He hasn't been in the training room yet (today)."
Notae is averaging 15.9 points for the Razorbacks and leads the team with 27 made 3-point shots. He scored a team-high 22 points in the loss at LSU.
Regardless of Notae's status, Arkansas and Alabama both will be without multiple players for Saturday's game.
Arkansas freshman guard Khalen "K.K." Robinson underwent season-ending surgery on his right foot last week and forward Justin Smith has missed the last three games after undergoing arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right ankle. The Razorbacks have been without Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola all season because of an anterior cruciate ligament surgery during the offseason.
Musselman said Smith "has tried to practice a little bit of late, but has not been able to go through a full practice." Smith's recovery period was expected to be 3 to 6 weeks from the time of his surgery early this month.
Smith had started all nine games and was averaging 11.6 points and 7.1 rebounds at the time of his injury early during a Dec. 30 game at Auburn. The Razorbacks (10-3, 2-3 SEC) have lost three of four with him out of the lineup.
The Crimson Tide (10-3, 5-0 SEC) suffered a pair of injuries to starters during their 85-65 win at Kentucky on Tuesday. Guard Jordan Bruner (7.8 points per game) is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury against the Wildcats, and guard Herbert Jones (6.8 points per game) is day-to-day after suffering a hand injury at Kentucky.
Starting Alabama point guard Jahvon Quinerly has missed three consecutive games for undisclosed reasons. Quinerly averages 13 points per game.
"I think everybody across the board is dealing with injuries for whatever reason this year," Musselman said.
"(Alabama has) got plenty of players, regardless of who plays."
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly stated during which game Justin Smith was injured. It has been corrected to reflect the Dec. 30 game at Auburn.
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