Ron Slay cleared for action

Tennessee's basketball program got some great news this week, when team doctors cleared star forward Ron Slay for a return to action.

Slay, a 6-foot-8 senior from Nashville, missed the final 15 games of last season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in a Jan. 19 game against Syracuse. He underwent surgery 12 days later. He was averaging 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds through 14 games at the time of his injury.

Slay's return is huge. Tennessee's inside game already suffered a big hit when Marcus Haislip elected to forgo his senior year and jump to the NBA, so another setback could've been devastating.

Now that he's healthy again, Slay is expected to team with 6-foot-10 sophomore Brandon Crump to give Tennessee a solid post presence this season. Naturally, Vol head man Buzz Peterson is thrilled to have the flashy forward back in the fold.

''We are pleased with the way Ron's rehab went,'' Peterson said. ''He really worked hard at it but it was a team effort. A lot of people worked hard and did a great job of getting Ron to this point.

''It was a very, very difficult time for him but he's got out of that hole now, and I think he would say he's learned a lot from that. Now, if anything like that happens again, he'll know how to adapt.''

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