Dane is OK

If Dane Bradshaw entertained any doubts about his value to Tennessee's program, head coach Bruce Pearl removed them Tuesday morning as the senior forward left the basketball office to undergo an MRI on his aching shoulders.

"After he walked out the door, loudly enough so he could hear it, I said to Coach Forbes, ‘There goes our season, walking out the door right there,'" Pearl said, adding: "Hey, Dane, good luck at the doctor!"

Pearl smiled at the recollection. He was all smiles Wednesday because Bradshaw's MRI showed a bone bruise and some tendonitis but no tear or structural damage in either shoulder. That means rest, therapy and perhaps an occasional cortisone shot should enable Bradshaw to finish out his senior season.

Asked what this means to him, Pearl replied: "Everything. It means everything. Of course, we don't want to lose anybody. But this is good news."

Although he had been experiencing discomfort for weeks, Dane Bradshaw had to play through significant pain in Game 10 against Western Kentucky and Game 11 against Oklahoma State. There were concerns that a bad diagnosis following the MRI might end his season.

"I was worried," Bradshaw admitted, "but I assumed I was going to play no matter what… I don't really feel there was any way I was going to NOT play."

Still, he said he was "very relieved to hear the great news" that he does not risk further injury by continuing to play.

"Now I think I can mentally fight through it more, knowing I'm not tearing it more or making it worse," he said, later adding: "Playing hurt is part of the game, and I'm willing to do it. I wish I could play at 100 percent but I don't think anyone does that during the season."

Bradshaw practiced Wednesday but will be held out of Thursday's workout. He should get occasional breaks between now and the start of SEC play in early January.

"We'll continue to try to rest him," Pearl said. "We hope that over the next two weeks, where we only have a game or two here and there during the holiday, the rest will take care of it."

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