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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CDR Expected to Play vs. Tulsa Wednesday

Tigers' top scorer likely to play vs. Hurricane

By Dan Wolken
January 23, 2007

University of Memphis leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who has missed the last two games with a mild high ankle sprain, participated in some practice drills Monday and said he expected to play Wednesday against Tulsa.

"I don't think I can sit another game out," Douglas-Roberts said. "Being a competitor, I hate watching. More than likely, I'll be playing."

Douglas-Roberts, a sophomore guard who averages 14.8 points per game, injured his right ankle Jan. 11 at Houston but finished that game and played two days later at Southern Miss, where he scored 23 points.

But the injury progressively got worse, and Douglas-Roberts took himself out fewer than two minutes into Memphis' 79-54 victory over UAB last Tuesday.

Though Memphis didn't need him to beat East Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers were held to just two field goals during a 15-minute stretch in the first half, something that probably wouldn't have happened if Douglas-Roberts, whose nickname is "Buckets," had been available.

But coach John Calipari said he won't rush Douglas-Roberts back into the lineup, especially with the way freshman guard Doneal Mack played in his first career start Saturday.

"I told him, if you have to stay out a few more days, stay out," Calipari said. "We've got enough guys on this team. It's time for guys to be able to step up. I thought Doneal did a heck of a job stepping in and doing things and filled the role we needed. He got 15 points in 16 minutes. I'm not sure Chris could have done that."

If Douglas-Roberts returns Wednesday against the Golden Hurricane, his minutes will likely be limited. Asked whether he had to weigh the long-term possibilities in his decision to play, he said, "You do, but this might be a season-long thing. It's going to hurt, and I'll just have to play through pain."

Though Douglas-Roberts did play at full speed for short stretches Monday, he sat out more than half of the drills.

Poll watch: With several teams in front of them losing games last week, the Tigers (15-3, 5-0 Conference USA) made a significant jump from No. 17 to No. 11 in Monday's Associated Press poll. The Tigers climbed from No. 18 to No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.

Memphis, however, fell from No. 11 to No. 15 over the past week in the Ratings Percentage Index, mostly because playing East Carolina (rated No. 319) significantly hurt the Tigers' strength of schedule.

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365


Next for No. 11 Tigers

Opponent: Tulsa

When, where: Wednesday, 8 p.m., at FedExForum


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