COLUMBIA, S.C. – A’ja Wilson is making progress in coming back from a sprained ankle that sidelined the South Carolina women’s basketball forward this week.
The junior forward, who suffered the injury against Florida on Sunday, was at the Gamecocks practice Thursday. Wilson is being evaluated day by day to see when she can return – and if it will be in time for USC’s next game, which comes Sunday at LSU.
“She was out here today,” coach Dawn Staley said. “She wasn’t practicing. She was out here, moving around, which is a really good sign. She will get evaluated again. She’s getting evaluated right now, then she’ll come back (Friday). She moved around, jogged a little bit we will see.”
Wilson, who leads the Gamecocks (14-1, 4-0 SEC) in scoring at 16.9 points per game, is no longer in a cast or on a cart, Staley said. Wilson went down against Florida when she came down on an opponent’s foot. She did not play Wednesday night as South Carolina went to Georgia and left with a 66-63 win behind a big game from guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore. Freshman Mikiah Herbert Harrigan started in Wilson’s place against Georgia, but the options remain open for Sunday’s trip to LSU.
“We will look at it all,” Staley said. “(Junior guard) Alisha (Gray), I thought, she gave us the best shot at playing both sides of the ball. Just having an impact defensively and offensively. I like that.”
Staley also is looking at sophomore guard Doniyah Cliney as an option as the fifth starter. But there’s a reality that South Carolina is missing a big interior scoring presence and then more, as Wilson’s presence is missed on the court as well.
Staley said that she can see the communication dropoff without Wilson calling out when she is seeing to the rest of her teammates.
“A’ja sees it, she’s a talker,” Staley said. “She keeps us together when it comes to that. When you lose a big voice, not just the stats, but the voice out there on the floor, she knows what we want. She actually keeps us organized just all of them, players one through five. She’s always talking.
“One of the keys for us against LSU is going to be our ability to communicate with one another. That’s what we worked on today.”