Avery Johnson provides update on Donta Hall before Alabama heads to NCAA Tournament
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama basketball coach Avery Johnson provided an injury update on Crimson Tide forward Donta Hall before the team departed for the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.
Hall hit his head in a scary fall during the second half against Auburn in an SEC Tournament game last Friday in St. Louis. He suffered a concussion and missed the Crimson Tide’s semifinal loss to Kentucky on Saturday.
Alabama is a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will match up against No. 8 Virginia Tech in the first round. The Crimson Tide and Hokies will meet at 9:20 p.m. ET Thursday in Pittsburgh in the East Regional. The game will be televised by TNT.
“We’ll see. Right now he’s day to day,” Johnson said about Hall. “He wasn’t able to participate in any parts of practice on [Monday]. He did ride the bike a little bit, which was a good sign. Once we get out there, [trainer] Clarke [Holter] will update me on what he can and cannot do.
“I think I’ll have a much better handle on his status after [Tuesday]. I’ll know a lot more about his status once we get on the plane to go to Pittsburgh, especially when he wakes up tomorrow to see how he recovered from whatever he’s able to do [Tuesday].”
Alabama will practice Tuesday afternoon before leaving for Pittsburgh.
An SEC All-Defensive Team selection, Hall leads Alabama in field-goal percentage (.721), blocks per game (2.1), rebounds per game (6.8) and dunks (69).
“He’s a big part, a big key for us,” Alabama guard Dazon Ingram said. “His energy is incredible. Once he gets going, it’s hard to stop him.”
Added guard John Petty, “He brings a different level of energy. As well as he’s been playing lately, they’re going to have to double-team him because he’s been killing 1-on-1 coverage. He gets dunks, lobs. … On defense, he’s just an animal. He’s going to get rebounds. He’s going to protect the rim and do what it takes.”
If Hall can’t play, teammates such as Daniel Giddens, Galin Smith and Alex Reese must fill the void.