AUBURN, Ala. — Danjel Purifoy might not be at full strength this weekend, but he could be on the floor in Auburn Arena as the Tigers face in-state rival Alabama on Saturday afternoon.
Purifoy injured his left ankle after scoring 6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds during the first half of Auburn’s loss to Ole Miss on Jan. 7.
On the Tuesday leading up to Auburn’s game against LSU, teammate T.J. Dunans said Purifoy had not practiced since injuring his ankle. Coach Bruce Pearl said Purifoy, a freshman forward, would try to shoot for the first time at that afternoon’s workout.
Purifoy practiced for the first time on Thursday.
“We’re going to see how he responded to that with the swelling,” Pearl said Friday. “I don’t think the trainers have made a decision on that yet, but I think there’s a chance he could play tomorrow.”
Playing in 15 of Auburn’s 18 games, Purifoy is the Tigers’ second-leading scorer at 13.7 points per game while adding 5.8 rebounds. The Centreville, Ala., native, has also been a top freshman contributor within the SEC behind teammate Mustapha Heron and Kentucky guards Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox.
While Purifoy was out, Pearl experimented with different lineups and rotated players at the 4 and 5 positions.
Those adjustments were a welcomed change in Auburn’s win over LSU, during which freshman center Austin Wiley, freshman Anfernee McLemore and sophomore Horace Spencer combined for 32 points and 17 rebounds. Junior guard T.J. Lang has also spent time in the post.
Last season Auburn defeated Alabama on the Plains before losing to the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Coach Avery Johnson’s team has won six of its past seven games, most recently beating Missouri in Columbia on Wednesday.
Alabama is 4-1 in SEC play; Auburn is 2-4. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. CT (SEC Network).