Sprained right ankle likely to sideline Lofton

Updated: January 22, 2007, 1:18 PM ET
Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Lofton's sprained right ankle likely will keep Tennessee's star guard out of Wednesday night's game at Mississippi.

Coach Bruce Pearl said Monday that X-rays did not show any broken bones, but it has not been determined whether the there is ligament damage.

"X-rays were negative today as far as any breaks were concerned," Pearl said. "It's just a matter of whether or not it will be a one-, two-, potentially three-week ankle sprain. It's a pretty good sprain. He's got pretty good swelling."

Lofton, who leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring at 21.5 points per game, sprained the ankle in the second half of Saturday's 64-61 victory over South Carolina.

Lofton had made good progress since the injury, but Pearl said, "You just don't know how it's going to respond."

The Vols visit Kentucky on Sunday, a key game for the Maysville, Ky., native. If he can't return, Pearl said he hasn't decided if Jordan Howell, Tony Passley or Josh Tabb would replace him.

"Anytime you lose a player, everybody else is going to step up a little bit. Anytime you lose an All-American, everyone has to step up a lot," Pearl said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press