Freshly minted as an All-SEC freshman team member, A.J. Lawson met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since spraining his ankle. He sounded like a player ready for a return to the floor.
“I feel like I’ve been healing very quickly,” Lawson said at Colonial Life Arena. “I’ve been getting better day by day and I’m just thankful. And I’m trying to get on the court as much as I can, do more things and as the day goes on, just see how it goes.”
The fourth-seeded Gamecocks (16-15 overall, 11-7 SEC) have a double-bye in the SEC Tournament and won’t play until a quarterfinal game Friday afternoon against either fifth-seeded Auburn (22-9, 11-7), 12th-seeded Missouri (14-16, 5-13) or 13th-seeded Georgia (11-20, 2-16).
By then, Frank Martin said Tuesday, he’ll have a firm decision on whether Lawson returns from a three-game absence.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
“A.J.’s been doing more and more every day,” said the USC coach. “We’re gonna make a decision of him Thursday at our practice (in Nashville).”
Martin said Lawson participated in the team’s shoot-around before the Georgia game last Saturday and has followed up with practice reps.
“(Wednesday),” Martin said, “he’s gonna participate in more stuff and then Thursday the plan is to try and turn him loose and see what happens there. That’s the plan with him.”
Lawson, USC’s first member of the All-SEC freshman team since Sindarius Thornwell in 2014, is averaging 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3 assists per game.
“Right now, I’m just taking it day by day to get better and better to be on that court and show my best,” Lawson said, “be 100 percent and be out there and help my team out.”