Tide Could Be Without Davidson

A second member of Alabama's starting lineup might be out due to injury when the Crimson Tide opens play against Kentucky in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta on Thursday.

Senior center Jermareo Davidson's back began to tighten up during the second half of Alabama's final regular season game against Mississippi State on Sunday and has not practiced since.

"He got treatment early Monday morning, but he has not been able to do anything," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. "I would list him as questionable at best. I don't know if I could predict if he will play, or even if he can. In our minds we have to prepare that he won't play because he hasn't been able to do anything."

Davidson is Alabama's second leading score, averaging 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He scored six points and had three rebounds against Kentucky in the earlier meeting between the schools two weeks ago, but helped keep Kentucky big man Randolph Morris in check and had three blocks and two steals.

Point guard Ronald Steele was already doubtful to play in Thursday's game because of continued injury problems to both knees. Steele had been playing with bone bruises, first on one knee and then the other, for most of the season, but obviously in pain and not at full strength. He sat out completely the last two regular season games.

Alabama and Kentucky tip off at 1 p.m. Eastern (noon Central) Thursday morning, with the winner of that game playing Mississippi State at the same time on Saturday. Alabama is outside the bubble of an NCAA Tournament berth with faint hopes of playing its way onto the bubble in Atlanta this week.

"Depsite Ron's injuries and Jermareo's, we're here at 20 wins and just short of where we need to be," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. "We've been in five straight NCAA tournaments and would like to be sitting here thinking we're a shoo-in, but we're not and we know we've got some work to do here."

Two Alabama players landed on the Southeastern Conference second team All-SEC squad – Davidson and sophomore forward Richard Hendrix. Hendrix and Davidson were the only two Crimson Tide representatives on the first, second or All-Fresman teams.

Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings and guard/forward Derrick Byars were named the SEC Player and Coach of the Year, respectively. Florida's Lee Humphrey was SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Chris Richards of the Gators was the SEC Sixth Man of the Year. Arkansas had the SEC Freshman of the Year in Patrick Beverley, and the league's Defensive Player of the Year, Steven Hill.


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