LSU coach Johnny Jones acknowledged Thursday that forward Ben Simmons is playing with a finger injury on his shooting hand.
When asked during his twice-weekly media availability if Simmons was playing with an injury, Jones said, “Yes, it happened a couple of games ago. It’s on his shooting hand.”
Jones did not elaborate on which finger was affected and whether it hindered his shooting touch, and Simmons did not attend the media session.
Later, Jones said he didn’t know if Simmons suffered the injury late in a loss at South Carolina a week ago or in a win against Texas A&M last Saturday.
The injury isn’t believed to be serious considering Simmons played 38 minutes in a 76-69 loss to Alabama on Wednesday night.
Simmons was 5-of-10 from the field and made only 10-of-19 free throws against Bama. As a team, LSU was 20-of-35 from the charity stripe for 57.1 percent, going 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) in the decisive second half.
Simmons returned to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center floor long after all the fans had left to work on his free-throw shooting. He was a 69.4 percent shooter from the line going into the game and is now at 68.0 percent for the season.
Jones noted that senior guard Keith Hornsby did the same thing after going 4-of-7 from the line in a narrow win over Georgia on Jan. 26.
“I think it helps those guys afterwards if they don’t feel they performed at their best … it’s good to see that guys are self-motivated to do things like that to get better,” Jones said. “It’s always good to see guys take ownership of things like that.”
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