Rick Barnes: Tennessee center Jonas Aidoo dealing with an injury

Rick Barnes: Tennessee center Jonas Aidoo dealing with an injury

Tennessee junior center Jonas Aidoo is dealing with a calf injury, head coach Rick Barnes said Tuesday night after his fifth-ranked Vols beat Norfolk State 87-50 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The 6-foot-11 Aidoo played a season-low 12 minutes in the win, scoring four points on 2-for-8 shooting. He had five rebounds with two blocks, two steals and two turnovers.

Barnes said Aidoo suffered a calf strain in Tennessee’s first practice back from Christmas break.

“Jonas hasn’t practiced as much,” Barnes said during his postgame press conference. “He strained his calf the first night he was here. That’s a tough one to get over. And he needs reps in practice. That’s when he plays his best basketball.”

Aidoo is Tennessee’s third-leading scorer this season, averaging 10.5 points per game and is second in rebounding, at 6.8 per game. He’s shooting 50.9% from the floor in 22.9 minutes per game.

Jonas Aidoo scored a career-high 29 points against Georgia Southern

His four points against Norfolk State matched a season low — he scored four against Tennessee Tech in the season opener on November 6 — and came three weeks after he scored a career-high 29 against George Southern.

Aidoo scored 13 points in the loss at North Carolina on November 29, with Barnes offering a vote of confidence for his big man after the game.

“We’re going to establish Jonas,” Barnes said at the time. “And I truly think Jonas is gonna play his way this year to being one of the best post guys in the country.”

It was the start of a four-game stretch for Aidoo that saw him score a combined 73 points while grabbing 30 rebounds.

Aidoo over his last three games, wins over North Carolina State, Tarleton State and Norfolk State, has 15 points and 13 rebounds.

“He hasn’t practiced very much,” Barnes said Tuesday night. “And I’ve said all along Jonas is a guy, because as much as we play in practice, the game is still faster in some ways. And it’s not like you get to stop it, redo it and all that.”

Up Next: No. 5 Tennessee vs. No. 22 Ole Miss, Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, SEC Network

Barnes added that he wasn’t concerned about Aidoo getting healthy and getting back to being himself.

“Jonas will get back,” Barnes said. “He will. I’m not worried about it with him. I just wanna make sure we get him totally healthy.”

“We talked about, we know now we’re into conference play and you want to go into it trying to put together a complete game,” Barnes said. “And the guys really understand the mindset is that if we’re gonna get consistent, we gotta know what we’re gonna get every night from those guys.”

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