Latrell Wrightsell is still not practicing, but Nate Oats is optimistic about his Final Four availability

On3 imageby:Charlie Potter04/01/24

Charlie_Potter

After missing both of Alabama’s NCAA Tournament games in Los Angeles with a head injury, senior guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. was still unable to practice on Monday, Nate Oats said.

But the Crimson Tide head coach was optimistic about Wrightsell’s Final Four availability.

“He’s still being evaluated every day, but with the head injuries, the further away from the injury you get, the more likely you are to be all play,” Oats said on Hey Coach. “So I think with the week between games, he didn’t play all last week. He’s got to be able to go through a skill workout and be able to practice and then still not have any headache or whatever it is. 

“They’ve got the whole protocol. You don’t want to put a young man’s long-term health at risk for one game. So I think our doctor and trainer have been doing the right thing in keeping him out. But I think he’s gonna give it a go. He’s gonna get into practice, and if everything goes well after the practices this week then he’s gonna be able to go on Saturday, would be the hope.”

Wrightsell suffered a head injury in the first half of the Crimson Tide’s second-round game with Grand Canyon on Sunday, March 23, and was ruled out for the remainder of that game as well as UA’s Sweet 16 matchup with North Carolina and Elite Eight battle with Clemson. 

This marked the second time Wrightsell has been sidelined by a head injury this season. The guard missed four SEC games late in the regular season because of a nagging concussion.

The Cal State Fullerton transfer enters the third week of the NCAA Tournament averaging 9.3 points per game and was shooting 44.9 percent from three, 45.1 percent from the field and 100 percent from the free-throw line and will look to return after a 2-game absence.

Alabama will face No. 1 overall seed UConn in the school’s first Final Four berth on Saturday, April 6, in Glendale, Ariz. It was in the practice gym at Coleman Coliseum on Monday after returning from California with a trophy. After sharing the latest on Wrightsell’s health, Oats broke down the men’s basketball team’s practice plan for the final week of the season.

“We practiced a little today, but it went pretty light, not much,” Oats said. “We’ve been banged up with injuries with Davin (Cosby)’s foot, Wrightsell’s head injury. Nick (Pringle)‘s foot is obviously not 100 percent. He really sucked it up and manned up and played well. Shoot, it was big for Nick because that Clemson game was against his home-state team in South Carolina. 

“But we’re trying to get everybody as healthy as we can over this week while still not losing – there’s a fine line, you can’t lose your conditioning, you can’t lose how well you’re playing but still want to get healthy and get your legs under you. 

“So we went a little light today. Tomorrow will be our hardest practice. Wednesday, we’ll be there. It’ll be kind of just a skill shooting day, not a real practice. Kind of off day, but our guys, even on off days, get in the gym and shoot, so we’ll have a gym available for them to get and shoot Thursday. Be fairly light Friday, even lighter, and Saturday, we gotta go. 

“Hopefully our legs are fresh and we’re playing our best basketball come Saturday because we’re going to need to be. We’ve got a daunting task in front of us with the way UConn’s playing right now.”

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