The LSU basketball backcourt is banged up, and how coach Johnny Jones plans to shuffle the fold remains to be seen.
Both junior guard Josh Gray and sophomore guard Tim Quarterman did not practice Monday, did not accompany the team on its annual visit to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital on Tuesday and did not meet with the media Tuesday as they both received treatment for injuries, Jones said.
Jones said Gray sustained an ankle sprain in the second half of the team’s 76-67 victory against Sam Houston State last Saturday.
Quarterman came up lame toward the end of the Tigers’ win against Sam Houston State, but played the remainder of the game and met with the media following the victory. Jones did not have an official diagnosis on Quarterman, but was more optimistic the Savannah, Georgia, native would return to play.
“There’s a good chance that Tim could be available for us on Thursday,” Jones said.
Quarterman, who primarily played a sixth-man role for the Tigers for the first part of the season, averages 11.1 points per game.
“If we don’t have one and Tim is available, he would certainly be the ideal choice for us because of the role he’s played all year,” Jones said. “If not, Jalyn Patterson would be the next person in that role for us. He would be the ideal person if either person is incapable of going.”
Patterson, a freshman from Alpharetta, Ga., played a career-high 24 minutes in the Sam Houston State win and said Tuesday his goal, no matter the status of Gray or Quarterman, is simple.
“Come in and just try not to miss a beat,” Patterson said. “Step up and play and hopefully we’ll pull out a win. I feel like I’m getting better each and every day. (Gray and Quarterman) always give me tips, things to do, things not to do.”
Patterson’s career high in minutes came after an offseason knee procedure hampered the beginning of his college career. He played a then-career high 18 minutes against West Virginia before the Sam Houston State win.
Though labeled by Jones “not as aggressive” as Gray or Quarterman, Patterson’s smooth ball handling and rapid maturation has provided his teammates a glimpse into how Thursday’s game could play out.
“Jalyn has taken the spot at the point during practice,” guard Keith Hornsby said. “I’ve always had confidence in him. A lot of stuff is the same. Josh is maybe a more confident scorer, but that’s fine. Jalyn can shoot, Jalyn can score, he’s a really good distributor.”
“He’s one guy with a lot of confidence on the court. Throughout this whole year I’ve always mentioned how impressed I am with his composure. He doesn’t really play like a freshman.”
In the event that neither Gray nor Quarterman are available, Jones mentioned moving forward Jarell Martin on the wing to the 2-guard, opening the door for 6-foot-9 freshman Aaron Epps to play more minutes.
“It’ll certainly present a challenge to us,” Jones said. “It’s early in the season and it’ll force some other guys to maybe have to play.”
When that’s occurred, guys have done an excellent job.”