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UPDATE: It begins ... Carter injured.

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God forbid that one of Tubby Smith's team enter a regular season injury or suspension free. Can you remember the last time that happened? I can't.

This team -- thin up front to begin with -- has now suffered not only the three-game suspension of senior Sheray Thomas, who will return Friday against Missippi Valley State, but now learns that sophomore center Jared Carter has a dislocated right shoulder.

An MRI will take place this week to assess the extent of the injury, and one assumes updates as to Carter's status for both the opening two games and next week's Maui Invitational will be forthcoming.

The news continues a string of untimely injuries and suspensions that include Randolph Morris' half-season sit-down last year, Thomas' tumor surgery, Cliff Hawkins' academic issues in 2004, Jason Parker's knee woes in 2001 and on and on.

Sometimes you wonder if coach Tubby Smith had any good luck coming to him. In any case, from a less pessimistic point of view, this certainly bodes ill for the extremely necessary development of Carter's game. The big kid needs to play, and he needs to play a lot. Even if he can go in Maui, you can only assume it will take weeks to return to full strength.

Update [2006-11-13 19:17:25 by JL Blue]:

The prognosis for Carter is not good, but not utterly devastating. The big kid will miss 3-4 weeks, putting him out until effectively the scrub games of late December.

My money is on Scott Holsopple trimming that down to the short side of three weeks. Here's hoping Sheray is back to the form that had us excited his freshman year. We're gonna need him.