Texas junior Jericho Sims out with back injury

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas junior forward Jericho Sims has been struggling with a back injury that is still being evaluated as the Longhorns get ready to play at Iowa State, coach Shaka Smart said Thursday.

Smart did not detail what the injury is, but said Sims has been bothered by it for several weeks. He had remained in the starting lineup and averages 9.7 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds. Sims scored nine points and grabbed 14 rebounds in 34 minutes in Mondayt’s 52-45 loss to No. 1 Baylor.

It was unclear if Sims will play Saturday or miss extended time.

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“He’s been battling some injuries in that area for quite a while,” Smart said. “He’s been a real warrior, to be honest with you, just the way he’s hung in there. We’ve had to limit him quite a bit practice-wise the last couple of months.”

Losing Sims would be another blow to the Texas lineup, which played Baylor without junior guard Jase Febres (knee) and freshman forward Kai Jones (ankle). Smart suggested Jones could return Saturday if he can return to practice this week.

Texas is struggling in Smart’s fifth season. The Longhorns (14-10, 4-7 Big 12) have lost three straight and are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and third time in five years.

Iowa State (10-14, 3-8) lost standout guard Tyrese Haliburton for the rest of the season with a left wrist fracture, the school said Monday.