The Alabama men’s basketball team could have to wait a little longer for Darius Miles and Dom Welch to be on the court. Both have missed the last three games with injuries – with Welch not available for any regular-season game due to a lower-body injury – and their availability for the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore., remains doubtful, head coach Nate Oats said .
“We don’t have our full roster yet,” Oats told local reporters via Zoom after landing in Portland on Tuesday night. “Darius has been in practice a limited amount. Dom still has not done anything live in practice. Darius is starting to do live stuff. We’ll see how Darius is tomorrow as well as whether he can go Thursday. I’d say he’s more likely than Dom right now, but they’re both still up in the air. So we’ll have 10 healthy players, for sure. Maybe 11. I don’t know.
“Hopefully, we get Darius back here soon, and then I think Dom will be a little bit behind Darius.”
Both players sported walking boots while watching from the bench to tip-off the 2022-23 season. A year ago, Miles played in 30 games, making two starts and averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Welch, a graduate transfer from St. Bonaventure, is one of seven new players on the Tide’s current roster and shot 37.4 percent from three before transferring.
Miles and Welch might not play, but point guard Jahvon Quinerly will. The veteran has suited up for the last two games, returning to the court against South Alabama. It was his first game action since suffering a torn ACL in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. After playing four minutes against USA and then 17 minutes in the 104-62 win over Jacksonville State on Friday.
Getting him game experience before the PKI was important against the quality competition.
“I thought it was big because you don’t want to throw him in the first game against somebody like Michigan State,” Oats said. “Maybe a month or a month and a half ago when we saw his rehab was coming along quicker than maybe quicker and it was going better, we kind of looked to this game and can we get him for the Michigan State game? And then if we’re gonna try to get him for that game, let’s try to get him a few minutes before that to try to get him some game reps.
“That’s why we put him in the South game just to kind of get his feet wet, if you will, and he was kind of on a minutes restriction the last game against Jacksonville State. He’s pretty much fully ready to go now, like we can use him as we need. It’s good to have him. I think he can break them down a little bit, collapse the defense, hopefully get us some threes.
“They’re gonna have a great game plan, they always do. They’re gonna be ready for him, Sears and Bradley, whoever is at the point. But I do think he can break down some of their guards and get in the paint and help us get some open threes.”
Alabama will open the PKI against No. 12 Michigan State on Thursday, Nov. 24. The first-round game will start at 9:30 pm CT on ESPN. The winner of that game will face the winner of UConn versus Oregon in the second round Friday, Nov. 25, and vice versa for the two losers.
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