The Vols junior guard suffered a left hand injury against Villanova on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. UT coach Rick Barnes indicated Sunday that James tore a ligament in his left hand. Barnes did not give a timeline for James' return.
Sophomore guard Justin Powell and freshman forward Jonas Aidoo are recovering from the flu, which hit Tennessee while it was in Connecticut. Powell is doubtful. He went through warmups with the Vols prior to the game. Aidoo is available.
James also had flu-like symptoms when he did not play against UNC.
Powell, an Auburn transfer, started in James' place. He had eight points against the Tar Heels. Barnes said Powell was the choice to to ensure the Vols still had length on the court. James and Powell are both 6-foot-6.
“He did play his best game defensively since he’s been here," Barnes said. "He has improved there. And he will continue to improve. Justin is just getting going. We need him to really get himself in position on the defensive end to make good defensive plays, especially without the ball. He does know what we’re doing. He’s a terrific passer. But I would say for most of our guys, what we’re looking at is to get the consistency on the defensive end.”
Powell is averaging 9.3 points per game and shooting 40% from 3-point range.
James is off to a slow start, averaging 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. He is 1-for-15 on 3-pointers.
Aidoo, who battled an illness during the preseason, has played five minutes in three games.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Josiah-Jordan James out for Tennessee basketball vs. Tennessee Tech