Andraya Carter cleared to practice

Andraya Carter

Tennessee got back to practice Friday after a day off to begin preparations for Sunday's showdown with North Carolina. Go inside for the latest on the Lady Vols.

Tennessee won't be at full strength for Sunday's game, but freshman guard Andraya Carter, who suffered a right shoulder injury in Thursday's win over Middle Tennessee was on the practice court Friday at Thompson-Boling Arena and is expected to be cleared to play this weekend.

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. Eastern, and Fox Sports Net has the broadcast from the arena.

Sophomore guard Jasmine Phillips wasn't at practice and won't be until after the fall semester ends. Classes wrap up next week, and then final exams begin, so she should return soon. Phillips won't be available for Sunday's game.

"She needs to get her academics in check," Coach Holly Warlick said. "She'll be back. There is no disciplinary action. She will practice after the semester is over. She is a good kid."

That leaves the Lady Vols with a roster of 10 for the matchup with the Tar Heels, who want a fast-paced game for 40 minutes. Tennessee should have Carter on active duty, despite the re-injury to her right shoulder, which she dislocated in high school near the end of her senior season.

Carter has been outfitted with a brace that will limit the shoulder's movement and help to keep the joint intact.

"She doesn't want to wear it, but she has to wear it," Warlick said. "She doesn't have an option."

That was Carter's initial reaction to the brace, but she realized the shoulder had to be protected or her season could be truncated.

"It's probably a little sore," Assistant coach Jolette Law said Friday. "Her biggest thing now is getting used to wearing the brace. She practiced well today.

"She said, ‘Coach, I am going to put the brace on and I am going to do what I need to do.' Right now she knows how important it is and how important she is to our team."

Friday's practice tilted heavily to the defensive side of the ball.

"We did a lot of defensive stuff today, and they were great," Warlick said. "We were full speed, and they were really focused. We had a little team-building (session) before."

The biggest adjustment for Carter will be getting comfortable with her shooting form as she gets accustomed to a brace that restricts movement.

"She's just got to get used to it," Warlick said. "When she got moving with it, she was OK. We shot free throws, and she was shooting them fine. It didn't hamper her on the defensive end."

Law delivered a speech to the freshman that struck a note of both move on and motivation.

"I said, ‘You've got a brace on, adjust. Play to your strengths. There are other things you do well. You play good defense. You can dribble. You can pass. You have a left hand,' " Law said.

"The shooting, that will come with extra reps. We are keeping her encouraged, keeping her focused on ‘let's wear the brace and prevent it from coming out.' "

Warlick doesn't expect Carter to change her playing style, which is essentially full bore and without regard to her well-being. She pursued a loose ball Thursday into the scorer's table, and the fans showed their appreciation with a round of applause. The brace is intended to ensure that Carter can stay on the court.

She is a tough kid," Warlick said.

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