Alabama is unlikely to have the full roster against Michigan State in the PKI

The Alabama men’s basketball team might have to wait a little longer for Darius Miles and Dom Welch to hit the court. Both have missed their last three games injured — with Welch unavailable for any regular-season games due to a lower-body injury — and their availability for the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Oregon remains in doubt, head coach Nate Oats said.

“We don’t have our full list yet,” Oats told local reporters via Zoom after landing in Portland Tuesday night. “Darius was in the practice on a limited basis. Dom still hasn’t done anything live in practice. Darius starts doing live stuff. Let’s see how Darius is tomorrow, if he can go Thursday. I’d say he’s more likely than Dom right now, but both are still up in the air. So we will have 10 healthy players for sure. Maybe 11. I don’t know.

“Hopefully we’ll bring Darius back here soon, and then I think Dom will lag behind Darius a bit.”

Both players wore hiking boots as they watched from the bench to announce the 2022-23 season. A year ago, Miles played in 30 games, made two starts and averaged 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Welch, a St. Bonaventure graduate, is one of seven new players in Tide’s current roster and shot 37.4 percent from three before making the move.

Miles and Welch may not play, but point guard Jahvon Quinerly will. The veteran has qualified for the last two games and returned to the court against South Alabama. It was his first game action since tearing his cruciate ligament in the first round of the NCAA tournament. After four minutes against the USA and then 17 minutes in Friday’s 104-62 win over Jacksonville State.

Giving him playing experience before the PKI was important against the quality competition.

“I thought it was big because you don’t want to throw him in the first game against someone like Michigan State,” Oats said. “Maybe a month or a month and a half ago when we saw that his rehab was progressing faster than maybe faster and it was going better, we kind of looked at that game and can we get him for the Michigan State game? And then when we try to get him into that game, we try to get him a few minutes early to try and get him some replays.

“So we put him in the South game just to get his feet wet if you will and he had kind of a minute limit in the last game against Jacksonville State. It’s pretty much ready to use now, like we can use it as needed. It’s good to have him. I think he can take them down a bit, let the defense collapse and hopefully get us some threes.

“They will have a great game plan, they always have. You’ll be prepared for him, Sears and Bradley, whoever is at the moment. But I think he can break some of their guards and get in the paint and help us get some open threes.

Alabama will open the PKI on Thursday, November 24 against No. 12 Michigan State. The first round game begins at 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN. The winner of that game meets the winner of UConn vs. Oregon and vice versa for the two losers in the second round on Friday, November 25th.

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