AUBURN, Ala. — It looks like Danjel Purifoy isn’t quite ready to get back on the hardwood just yet.
Though Auburn’s forward is progressing well since suffering an ankle injury in the Tigers’ Jan. 7 loss to Ole Miss, Bruce Pearl said it’s “doubtful” the redshirt freshman would be ready to play in Auburn’s Wednesday night matchup with LSU at Auburn Arena.
“When they first went down they were talking a lot longer, he’s progressed really, really well,” Pearl said. “He will not practice and I would say he’s doubtful for the game.”
Senior guard T.J. Dunans said Purifoy has not practiced since Auburn fell to the Rebels. Pearl indicated Purifoy would shoot a bit for the first time at the Tigers Tuesday afternoon practice preceding their game against the visiting Tigers.
So far this season, Purifoy has edged out true freshman point guard Jared Harper (13.2 points per game) to stay Auburn’s second-leading scorer (13.7 points despite missing the Tigers’ last two games), edging out freshman point guard . The forward also ranks fourth in the Southeastern Conference in scoring behind Kentucky guards Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox and teammate Mustapha Heron (15.9 ppg).
Junior guard TJ Lang has stepped into Purifoy’s starting role and said previously he’s enjoyed taking advantage of mismatches. Meanwhile freshman Anfernee McLemore, sophomore Horace Spencer, and seniors LaRon Smith and Devin Waddell have split time at the four.
Purifoy has also been the second-best rebounder on the team for most of the season (5.8 per game). Auburn and LSU have struggled to compete on the boards this season, averaging 37.1 and 38.3 rebounds respectively.
Wednesday’s game on the Plains will be key for both teams, who are currently 1-4 through the first five games of SEC play.
Auburn’s second home game of the week will be on Saturday when the Alabama Crimson Tide roll into town.