Scooter done for year?

Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon, the SEC's leading scorer at 18.6 points per game, might be through playing this season due to a nagging injury to his right hand.

McFadgon injured his shooting hand in December and has been erratic ever since. He scored a career-high 33 points Tuesday night against Kentucky -- hitting 8 of 17 floor shots and 13 of 13 free throws -- but struggled mightily last night in a 65-62 loss to Louisville. Playing with padding on the heel of his hand, he hit just three of 15 field goal tries and committed four turnovers in 32 minutes of play.

He was to undergo a CT scan this morning that could affect his availability for the rest of the season.

''We're going to find out what's going on,'' UT head man Buzz Peterson said at his Monday news conference. ''They x-rayed it but it didn't show much there. There's swelling from here (heel of the palm) right up to the pinky in the joint.

''Whatever the doctor finds, Scooter and his mom are going to have to make a decision as to what he wants to do. If they cast it, he's probably out for the rest of the year. Or he can play through it.''

The protective padding McFadgon has been wearing in games lessens the pain but it also lessens his control of the ball while he's dribbling and passing.

''The pad protects him from pain but it kind of gets in the way of his ballhandling,'' Peterson said. ''Last night it probably affected his shooting because it was more padded than it has been.''

Moreover, McFadgon's injury has limited his practice time. He did not practice last Wednesday or Thursday, then saw only light action on Friday practice and Saturday. This obviously affects his conditioning and his timing.

Peterson hopes to have a diagnosis in front of him by tonight or tomorrow. Then he'll wait to see what course of action McFadgon decides to pursue.

''You can inject it (with painkillers) and do different things,'' the coach said. ''But you can only inject it so much or you'll damage the cartilage probably.''

Peterson called McFadgon ''a competitor,'' and noted that ''I'm sure he'll want to be out there,'' but conceded that he's preparing some backup plans in case the 6-foot-5 junior opts for season-ending surgery.

''It's going to put more pressure on C.J. (Watson) to look for scoring,'' the coach said. ''We may look for Dane (Bradshaw) to play point or Dane to play the 2 (shooting guard) and have him and C.J. switch a little bit.

''John (Winchester) is going to have to shoot a little better. We'd probably look to Justin Albrecht a little bit more. He does some good things. He doesn't hurt you, and he kind of makes everybody around him a little bit better. And we'd put more emphasis on (Brandon) Crump scoring inside.''


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