Alabama coach Anthony Grant suspended junior forward Tony Mitchell for the rest of the season on Monday but cleared senior JaMychal Green to return to practice.
Grant said earlier Monday he didn’t expect either to play Thursday night at Arkansas. He didn’t elaborate on his decisions or a timeline for Green to return to game action in a brief statement released by Alabama, and hasn’t said what the two players did wrong.
Mitchell has been out for the past four games — the Crimson Tide is 1-3 in that stretch — while Green has been suspended for the past three. Guards Andrew Steele and Trevor Releford were suspended at the same time as Green but only missed the LSU game.
Mitchell and Green are the team’s top scorers and rebounders. Green is averaging 14.1 points and 7.2 rebounds, while Mitchell averaged 13.1 points and 7.0 rebounds.
The Tide (17-9, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) lost two straight without Green but rebounded with a 62-50 win over Tennessee and remain in contention for an NCAA tournament berth.
In Green and Mitchell’s absence, Alabama has relied heavily on four freshmen and increased the roles of big men Carl Engstrom and Moussa Gueye.
”I think our guys have moved on and just try to get better in each practice and try to prepare the best we can for the opponent in front of us,” Grant said Monday on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference.
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury, whose team visits Alabama on Saturday, said the Tide remains dangerous even when the team isn’t full-strength.
”Whoever they have or don’t have, they are a very good basketball team,” Stansbury said.