South Carolina women’s basketball star A’ja Wilson may still play Sunday against No. 6 Tennessee despite suffering an ankle sprain against Auburn, head coach Dawn Staley said Friday, but the Gamecocks are preparing as if she will not.
“We’re just planning as if we’re not going to have her,” Staley said after practice, which Wilson missed in order to receive treatment on her injured right ankle. “We’re in a good place. I like the energy and focus we brought to practice today and we got one more day to prep and then we’ll play the game.”
Wilson’s injury occurred in the final minute of the 71-63 victory Thursday night, as she landed on another player’s foot while leaping for a rebound. She immediately hobbled along the baseline and had to be helped off the court, barely able to put weight on her injured leg.
After the contest, however, Staley said Wilson told her she would play Sunday, a claim Staley said would depend on her pain tolerance.
“When she left the game last night, she said she was playing. With players, the pain is a personal thing. We know that she sustained an ankle injury, and now it becomes controlling the pain,” Staley said. “If you got a high pain tolerance, she’ll be able to go. If she doesn’t, she’s probably hurt pretty bad to miss a game like this.”
Earlier in the Auburn contest, Wilson recorded her 2,000th career point, becoming just the third player in program history to hit the milestone. She finished the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds, her 12th double double of the season.
Wilson has played Tennessee four times in her career, with a record of 3-1.
No. 9 South Carolina and No. 6 Tennessee square off Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.