A big toe has knocked out South Carolina’s big man.
Forward Damontre Harris, the sophomore expected to take over as the Gamecocks’ top post player this season, is expected to miss four weeks with a right big toe sprain. Harris was injured during a conditioning session last Friday.
He likely will return a week before South Carolina’s first regular-season game on Nov. 11 versus Western Carolina. USC plays an exhibition on Nov. 3 against Kentucky Wesleyan.
If Harris can’t play, freshmen Anthony Gill and sophomore RJ Slawson — both 6-foot-8 — likely would take the center and power forward spots.
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USC has one other big man, 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Carlton Geathers, but coaches have expressed concerns about his conditioning.
Malik Cooke, a 6-foot-6 senior who is back after dislocating his right ankle in a June pickup game, again could see time at power forward.
Harris’ latest setback comes after the 6-foot-9 Fayetteville, N.C., native missed part of summer workouts with surgery to remove screws in his left knee. The screws, the result of a high school injury, began to irritate him under the physical stress of his first season in college ball.
He appeared in 29 games last season, starting 19. He averaged 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
Meanwhile, the Gamecocks confirmed that Cooke and fellow injured forward Lakeem Jackson are ready for full practices, which start next Friday.
Jackson, a 6-foot-5 junior, underwent surgery for a left foot injury that hampered him throughout the latter part of last season.