Tiger Player Hurt In Basketball Practice

Jeff Lebo's Tigers open their exhibition season on Friday, but there is a question about the health status of one of the returning players.

Auburn, Ala.--A team already short on quality depth is hoping that an injury to senior Ronny LeMelle turns out to not be a serious problem.

LeMelle, a 6-5, 200-pound senior guard/forward, was not able to participate when the Tigers took the practice floor on Monday to start their fourth week of preparations for the first season of action under new head coach Jeff Lebo. The Tigers will go on public display on Friday at 7 p.m. with an exhibition game vs. Lee University, an NAIA college.

Ronny LeMelle's high-point game last season was 18 vs. Montana.

Lebo says the Tigers can't afford to lose LeMelle, who will be counted on for his rebounding abilities as well as scoring potentially.

"Hopefully, we can stay healthy," Lebo says. "We lose one and we are in really bad shape. We just are."

LeMelle says, "They are going to do an MRI on my knee to see if it is going to be okay. It happened when we were scrimmaging on Saturday. I took a charge and one of the Chattanooga players landed on my knee."

Auburn had an all-day practice session on Saturday with the Chattanooga Mocs, Lebo's former team. The new Auburn coach said the session was productive as the teams scrimmaged in the morning and again in the afternoon.

LeMelle averaged six points and 2.1 rebounds last season after transferring to Auburn from Western Oklahoma State College, a juco program where he averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore. He is originally from Harrisburg, Pa.

"Hopefully Ronny is going to be all right," Lebo says. "We just can't afford to lose anyone."

There is no admission charge to Friday's game at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, but fans are asked to bring a canned food item for the East Alabama Food Bank.

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