TeMarcus Blanton

South Carolina guards working back from surgery

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South Carolina has the pieces on their roster to be a team that makes some noise in the SEC this season, but that is dependent on some of their most important players getting healthy.

Namely, junior Sindarius Thornwell and redshirt freshman TeMarcus Blanton, both of whom underwent surgery over the summer. Thornwell had a procedure done on his knees while Blanton underwent surgery on a dislocated hip, an injury that was similar to what Bo Jackson did that ended his career.

Blanton is ahead of schedule on his recovery, but both he and Thornwell are being held out of competition for now.

“[Blanton] was supposed to be doing the stuff he’s doing now in August, so he’s about two months ahead of schedule,” head coach Frank Martin told the Charleston Post and Courier. “As far as sprinting, running, cutting, jumping — he does everything in the weight room and conditioning and agilities when we’re on the court with the exception of competing. We’re not allowing him to get in live competition yet, neither him nor Sindarius. But they do everything else. We don’t need to overload them, either one. We don’t have a game next week.”

That same story also said that incoming freshman P.J. Dozier, a McDonald’s All-American, is working his way into shape. Keyword: working.

“He and the garbage can became best friends that first week [of practice],” Martin said. “Every time I turned around, his head was inside of it.”

South Carolina loses second freshman to injury

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College basketball’s season opener isn’t for another three weeks, and South Carolina has already lost two of its four freshmen to injury. On Saturday, in a brief statement, the university’s athletic department announced that shooting guard TeMarcus Blanton underwent surgery on his left hip.

The injury occurred during practice, according to head coach Frank Martin.

Blanton, the 6-foot-5 Locust Grove, Georgia native, joined the South Carolina program as a three-star recruit, listed in the Rivals150 in the Class of 2014. He was looking to crack the Gamecocks back court rotation with Tyrone Johnson, Sindarius Thornwell, Duane Notice and Marcus Stroman, the four-star freshman point guard.

The press release listed no information on a timetable for Blanton’s return.

In July, South Carolina was forced to redshirt swingman Shamiek Sheppard after tearing the ACL in his right knee.

South Carolina finished second from the bottom in the conference standings with a 14-20 (5-13 SEC) record this past season. The Gamecocks open the 2014-2015 campaign on Nov. 14 against North Florida.