Is Latrell Wrightsell Jr. playing in the Elite 8? Latest injury update

Texas A&M v Alabama
Texas A&M v Alabama / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Alabama has proven to be one of the best teams in college basketball when fully healthy this season.

Conversely, the Crimson Tide just notched its best win of the season, and perhaps its best win of all-time, slightly shorthanded. Bama may remain without at least one key piece as this tournament progresses, and will need other players to continue to step up if it wants to advance again.

The health of guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. has been a major concern for well over a month now. The senior, who averages 9.0 points per game and shoots over 44 percent from beyond the arc, sat out for a two-week stretch from mid-February to early March with a concussion. In his absence, Alabama played very poorly and looked like an uninspired bunch. 

In his first full game back, Wrightsell hit four triples and scored 20 points, leading Bama to a comeback win over Arkansas. He added 17 points, connecting on 5-6 three-point attempts, in the Tide’s first round win over College of Charleston. Unfortunately, he took another shot to the head and was re-injured early in Bama’s second round win, and was unavailable for its Sweet 16 win against North Carolina. 

Wrightsell is once again considered questionable as Alabama prepares to take on Clemson in the Elite 8. He has been called “day to day” by Nate Oats, and it will be tough to predict his playing status due to the tricky nature of head injuries.

Bama is clearly better with Wrightsell in the lineup, but they have already proven they can play with and beat the best even without him. The team and the fan base alike should prepare for Wrightsell to sit out again, and should consider it a luxury if he is able to play. 

*UPDATED: Wrightsell will not play against Clemson.

Other Alabama Basketball injuries

Of course, Bama will still be without freshman guard Davin Cosby, who has been ruled out for the season with a broken foot. Cosby played a limited and inconsistent role in his first season, but was able to make a major impact as a perimeter weapon in Wrightsell’s late season absence. Therefore, the potential loss of both players in combination with each other is a hit to the Alabama offense.

Lastly, there is some concern surrounding the status of senior forward Nick Pringle. Pringle exited Bama’s Sweet 16 game with what initially appeared to be a serious lower extremity injury. He was eventually able to return, but was clearly hobbled with what has been reported as a lingering heel bruise. Pringle has insisted that he will play in the Elite 8, but was in a protective walking boot as of Friday evening.

Even with Grant Nelson playing lights out on both ends of the floor, Alabama will need the physicality and athleticism of Pringle to counter the Clemson frontcourt of PJ Hall and Ian Schieffelin. Pregame warmups should provide more insight into Pringle’s true status on Saturday night.

*UPDATED: Pringle is expected to play against Clemson.