USC Men's Basketball

Frank Martin sets deadline for decision on A.J. Lawson’s return from injury

Frank Martin on USC’s path to postseason: ‘If we figure Friday out, figure out Saturday.’

South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin discusses the Gamecocks’ NCAA Tournament hopes ahead of SEC Tournament.
Up Next
South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin discusses the Gamecocks’ NCAA Tournament hopes ahead of SEC Tournament.

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.

“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.”

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.


Support my work with a digital subscription

SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments