Frazier Doubtful, Pending 1:00 Examination

Coach Rick Stansbury is not absolutely certain just yet that Winsome Frazier will be unable to play when Mississippi State visits Tennessee. But neither is the Bulldog coach counting on having his senior off-guard in the lineup for Wednesday night.

"We don't know what Winsome's status is," Stansbury said Monday morning on the SEC's teleconference. "We expect he'll get X-rayed today at 1:00."

But if Stansbury is not sure of that status, he definitely sounded as if Mississippi State's staff is planning on playing without the team's second-leading scorer. The tone of the coach's comments were clearly down-beat as everyone awaits the physician's judgement later today.

"We'll prepare as if we don't have him," Stansbury said. "I think that's the way we have to. If it's anything different than that it will be positive."

Such pessimism is due to Frazier needing crutches to get around campus today, his foot still swollen from a Saturday injury at Mississippi. The senior hurt himself seven minutes into the first half and was unable to return to the court as the Bulldogs went on to Mississippi. By Sunday the swelling had increased, putting this week's action very much in doubt.

"It's not better," Stansbury said. "It's still the same. We'll know after 1:00 what the prognosis is."

The prognosis for the team without Frazier is not encouraging. Frazier was averaging over 13 points and leads State in three-point goals with 35 of the team's 105 treys.

"And he's our best perimeter defender and quickest athlete, one of the most experienced and toughest guys on the team," Stansbury said. "We'll miss him, he does so many things, he brings toughness, energy, toughness. Without him we don't have a player that brings those elements."

In this case two Bulldogs will be asked to bring their own elements to the Tennessee game. Stansbury said the plan now is to "mix and match" with sophomore Dietric Slater and junior Jamall Edmondson at off-guard and find the pairings that function best. Which one will start is another question.

"I don't have any idea yet, it's one of those two," the coach said. "Both bring different things to the game, but it really doesn't matter who starts. Both will have to play and play a lot of minutes."

Frazier's absence will be particularly noticeable this week as Tennessee, and Saturday's opponent Arkansas, both feature tall backcourts. State's guard tandem was able to match up physically with all Rebel combinations, but the Vols and Razorbacks are different matters entirely.

And there is some irony in Wednesday's game, as Mississippi State's last loss in a true ‘road' game played on the opponent's home court was at the end of 2003 at Tennessee. Now the '05 Bulldogs face the prospect of defending their ‘road warrior' name short-handed…or, make that, short-footed.

"Naturally without Frazier it's going to be more difficult," Stansbury said. "But nobody is going to cancel the game or feel sorry for us. We've got to find a way to put the pieces together and go on the road and be successful."

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