Writer: Andy Staples
Post time: 5:15 PM, Wednesday
CHARLOTTE -- Apparently, the Tennessee medical staff didn’t learn anything from the Tom Brady fiasco. Otherwise, sharpshooting guard Chris Lofton wouldn’t have been wearing a walking boot Monday to protect his injured ankle.
You know what happened next. TMZ.com caught Lofton wearing the boot while delivering flowers to his supermodel girlfriend’s Knoxville home, and Vols officials had to downplay the injury lest the Big Orange faithful begin wondering if Tennessee would have the firepower to beat Louisville in Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup. OK, I was kidding about the TMZ.com thing -- and the supermodel thing (sorry, Chris) -- but a few eagle-eyed folks did see Lofton in the boot, and alarm bells sounded when the news hit the Internet.
Lofton sat out of Tennessee’s practice Tuesday, but Wednesday, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said the injury shouldn’t hamper Lofton too much. “According to our trainers, if Chris had to play in a game Tuesday, he would have played Tuesday,” Pearl said. “Instead, we chose to keep him in a boot at practice. He got on a bike and got his cardio workout. He watched what we were looking to try to do to defend Louisville.”
Wednesday, Lofton looked fine as he worked out during the Vols’ public practice. He didn’t appear to be wearing any additional protective devices, and he didn’t appear to limp.