After missing the last nine games with a wrist injury, Alabama guard Nirmare Burnett is expected to return against Missouri.
Alabama coach Nate Oates said Burnett would miss “six to eight weeks” after he required surgery on his left wrist on December 13. He added that the team did not want to return him to Earth in a cast. Like I did with Herb Jones.
However, during his press conference on Friday, Oates said Burnett is getting close to returning to the lineup ahead of schedule.
“He was able to shoot to the side,” said Oats. “He’s got the cast and he’s warmed up. He’s had a little bit of heavy tape work, but shoot. We’ll see how he responds. (Sports coach Clark Holter) talks to the surgeon who performed the surgery. He’s getting closer.”
Burnett started Alabama’s first nine games and averaged 7.9 points and 2.3 rebounds, but made his presence felt on defense. During Alabama’s 71-65 win over previously ranked Houston on December 10, he played a huge role in tying Cougars guard Marcus Sasser to 9 points on 2 of 11 shooting.
Kobe Brown of Missouri held out against Alabama
And the team confirmed 30 minutes before his tip-off that Kobe Brown, Missouri’s leading scorer, will miss Saturday’s game against Alabama.
“The health of our student-athletes is our number one priority,” said Missouri State men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates. “For Kobe’s long-term future and success, I have chosen to rest Kobe tonight and not risk any further injury by allowing his ankle to heal properly.”
Brown averages 15.7 points per game, and in conference play, the senior has found another level, averaging over 18 points per game which includes a 30-point performance against Kentucky.
It’s a level Alabama has grown accustomed to during his tenure with the Tigers. Last season, Brown set Alabama on fire at Mizzou Arena, tallying 30 points, 10 of which came from the free throw line and 13 rebounds en route to Missouri’s 92-86 upset victory in 2021.