Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka 'doubtful' to return vs. Syracuse with right ankle injury

On3 imageby:Alex Weber11/20/23

Tennessee hoops suffered a setback early on in their Maui Invitational opener against Syracuse as forward Tobe Awaka has gone out with an ankle injury.

The sophomore Volunteer had barely played in the game before he came up limping after a play. After subbing out to check out what appeared to be a right ankle injury, Awaka did not come back in for the next few minutes. Shortly after Awaka initially left, ESPN sideline reporter Angel Gray offered the following update on him:

“It is not a good update for the Vols,” she said, noting that an “athletic trainer was working with Tobe in the back, trying t0 put pressure on the ankle.” However, it does not appear Awaka is able to. “Right now, they are saying he is out due to the right ankle injury, doubtful to return.”

Not great news for Tennessee to begin the Maui Invitational.

Tennessee also without Freddie Dilione

Beforehand, Freddie Dilione V had been ruled out for No. 7 Tennessee in the Maui Invitational this week due to a partial tear of his left plantar fascia. The redshirt freshman guard was injured in the first half Tuesday in the win over Wofford at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee (3-0) announced Dilione’s injury status before facing Syracuse (3-0) in the first round of the Maui Invitational (2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, ESPN2) at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Head coach Rick Barnes spoke to reporters Friday night but didn’t have a clear update or timetable for the return of Dilione.

“What I heard is partial tear in his plantar (fascia) down there,” Barnes said during a Zoom press conference. “But I haven’t even asked about time table yet. I think it varies on the degree that it’s partially torn. Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s what I remember them telling me about it.”

The Vols will play three games in three days during their stay in the Hawaii, facing either No. 2 Purdue or No. 11 Gonzaga on Tuesday. The championship game and consolation games will take place on Wednesday.

Barnes said the timeline for Dilione will depend on what progress is made following the results from the MRI performed Wednesday morning. The Vols flew to Honolulu on Thursday and held their first practice their on Friday.

“He’d been having some problems with it and he was trying to push through every thing he could,” Barnes said. “During the (Wofford) game he just said he felt something pop and he partially tore it.”