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October 28, 2010

Notebook: No timetable set for Davis' return

TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama senior guard Charvez Davis visited teammates during Wednesday's practice and is hopeful of rejoining them on the court in a couple of weeks.

Davis had surgery for a hernia Monday after sustaining the injury during a practice last week.

"I think the surgery went as well as can be expected," Coach Anthony Grant said Thursday afternoon.

Davis, who played in all 32 games last season and shot 41 percent from 3-point range, is considered out indefinitely until cleared by a physician to return to practice. It'll then probably take him a couple of weeks to get back up to speed.

The Crimson Tide opens preseason play Tuesday against Talladega and Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 8. The regular season begins Nov. 12 vs. Florida A&M.

"His spirits are pretty good," redshirt sophomore Andrew Steele said.

Developing depth

Grant had been downplaying last year's lack of depth, but admitted Thursday that it did take a toll on the Crimson Tide.

"Last year we probably had some games that we didn't finish the way we needed to because of that," Grant said.

"Hopefully this year we'll have more quality depth, and right now we're trying to establish that. But just because you have more numbers doesn't mean you have more depth. That's what I want our guys to understand and is what I preach every day, especially to the young guys. Playing time is not a right, it's a privilege, which you earn every day."

Alabama essentially played last season with nine scholarship players and almost no interior depth.

"The thing we told our guys during the offseason, to our veterans before our newcomers arrived, was that the success of our team this year would be based on the improvement of the guys returning on our team," Grant continued. "The new guys would hopefully add some value to those guys."
With 13 scholarship players on the roster, the first two weeks of practice have seen more intensity and competition.

"I think you'll see a lot more press, a lot more aggressive because we have more numbers," Steele said.

"Our energy is going to be way better," sophomore forward Tony Mitchell said.

Mitchell on target

Gaining weight was an offseason priority for Mitchell, who added 10 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-6 frame.

Not only is he listed at 210 pounds, but doesn't appear to have lost any of his speed or quickness.

"If you used to flying around a lot and you get too heavy, you won't fly around," Mitchell said. "It can change your game a lot."

Mitchell averaged 9.2 point and 5.9 rebounds as a freshman, but endured numerous bumps and bruises while playing near 185 pounds and also went through a bout with mononucleosis.

He's also been in Coach Grant's system for a year now and will be back playing his natural position.

"It helps a whole lot," he said with a laugh. "I know what I'm doing now."

Tide-bits

Grant on if the team is ready to play a game yet: "Probably not. We have a lot more things that we have to get it, but we're not far away."

Mitchell on 7-foot-1 center Carl Engstrom: "Good hands and footwork. He can be big for us and get a lot of rebounds."

Steele (6-4, 230) will play small forward this season. He averaged 3.3 points per game as a freshman after missing most of last season following surgery to fix a stress fracture in his left ankle. "I'm doing pretty good. A couple of little pains, but that's to be expected."

For now Grant is rotating freshmen Trevor Releford, sophomore Ben Elben and freshman Charles Hankerson at point guard. "We'll be inexperienced without Mikhail Torrance and obviously Anthony Brock in the backcourt. Any time you have to go young there and are inexperienced guys, and that position it's so critical, it's a concern. I'm confident the guys we have will do a good job and be ready to play."


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