Tigers feeling battered after tough stretch

Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | 10:30 p.m. CST; updated 8:55 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Even after a day off, the Missouri men’s basketball players are still feeling the effects of playing the past three games short-handed — especially DeMarre Carroll.

The forward twisted his right ankle in the second half of Monday’s loss at Kansas when teammate Leo Lyons fell on it. Carroll got treatment three times during the team’s day off Tuesday and didn’t practice Wednesday because the ankle was still swelling.

“It’s an unfortunate thing, but that’s going to happen in basketball,” Carroll said. “You’ve just got to play through it.”

Making matters worse, it is the same ankle that Carroll injured earlier this year. Monday was the first game Carroll played without an air cast on his right ankle. Needless to say, he will be wearing it if he plays in Missouri’s next game, Saturday against Texas A&M.

“It’s just one of those things,” Carroll said.

He finds out Thursday morning if he can practice.

Carroll was the only Tiger with a significant injury, but he wasn’t the only player hurting Wednesday.

In Missouri’s past three games, guards Matt Lawrence and Keon Lawrence both played more than 100 minutes each. Guard J.T. Tiller played 99 minutes and, despite his ankle injury, Carroll still played 88 total minutes. The extra minutes were the result of the suspension of five key players after a Jan. 27 fight outside a Columbia nightclub, which left starting point guard Stefhon Hannah with a broken jaw.

All but Hannah was back for the Kansas game, but Missouri relied a lot on specific players during the suspensions.

“I can tell, with some of us, fatigue caught up with us,” Keon Lawrence said. “Them three games, playing that many minutes, it caught up with some of us on the team. We wasn’t as quick to the ball.”

J.T. Tiller, who went from the bench to playing 35 minutes in two straight games last week, was limping through the tunnel at Mizzou Arena after practice on Wednesday.

“Tired,” is all Tiller could come up with when asked how he was feeling. He said having Tuesday off made it harder to move well on Wednesday, and that the practice was definitely not easy.

The players made one thing clear though; they will be fresh for Texas A&M this weekend.

“He (coach Mike Anderson) wants us to save the energy for the game,” Tiller said. “We’re still going hard, but we’re going to have our legs on Saturday.”

Anderson did not talk to reporters after Wednesday’s practice. The players said he didn’t give any indication as to what playing time will be like on Saturday. Jason Horton, who was a starter before being suspended last week, returned against Kansas, but he only played eight minutes off the bench. Of the suspended players, only Lyons, who returned against Kansas State on Saturday, has seen significant playing time since coming back.

Keon Lawrence, who became a starter when his teammates were suspended, said he would have no problem keeping up the big minutes, especially after scoring a career-high 25 points in 36 minutes against Kansas.

“I’m ready for it,” Lawrence said. “If I’m going to continue to play 30-plus minutes, I don’t have a problem with that at all.”

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