Latest injury update on Latrell Wrightsell Jr. and his importance to Alabama Basketball

Alabama Basketball is looking to get a big boost Saturday from the return of Latrell Wrightsell Jr. He is the Crimson Tide's best three-point shooter.
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The official word from Alabama Basketball is that Latrell Wrightsell Jr. is cleared to practice and is still being evaluated after each practice session. Nate Oats is hopeful Wrightsell will be available to play on Saturday night against UConn.

As reported by Nick Kelly of the Tuscaloosa News Thursday afternoon, Wrightsell is more optimistic. Speaking to Kelly, Wrightsell said, "I'll be able to play." It is not known how much contact he will be allowed to engage in during Friday's practice session, but it is anticipated that Wrightsell will be at or near full speed. The Alabama medical and training staff has been careful, implementing cautious recovery intervals for both of his head injuries this season. Wrightsell also twisted a knee in the Crimson Tide's second game against Florida.

The head injuries resulted in Wrightsell missing four games in the regular season and two NCAA Tournament games. The second head injury incurred in the first half of the Crimson Tide's Second Round game against Grand Canyon. As a result, Wrightsell played just 11 minutes.

In the two games before his first injury, Latrell Wrightsell Jr. was on a hot streak. In an away win over LSU, he scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds and four assists. The following game was a Crimson Tide 100-75 home win over Texas A&M. Against the Aggies, Wrightsell scored 16 points, with three boards, two assists, and three steals in 24 minutes of play.

After his first return from injury, he scored 20 points against Arkansas and in the opening NCAA Tournament game Wrightsell scored 17 points against Charleston.

How essential is Wrightsell to an Alabama victory over UConn?

By both statistics and an endorsement from Nate Oats, Wrightsell is the Crimson Tide's best three-point shooter. At 44.3% Wrightsell is only slightly ahead of Mark Sears at 43.4% and both will need to be hot in the National Semi-Final.

After losing Wrightsell to injury in February, Alabama's three-point shooting until the NCAA Tournament dipped to 29%. In the Second Round against Grand Canyon, Alabama won while making threes at just 25.8%. In the other three NCAA Tournament games, Alabama's outside-the-arc makes have been 57%, 42%, and 44%.

UConn defends threes well and the Crimson Tide likely needs to be at or above 40% to beat the Huskies. Having Latrell Wrightsell Jr. on the court will boost the Tide's chances.

Note: Player and team stats provided by Sports Reference