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Knoxville,TN- After missing Friday’s NCAA Tournament opener, Tennessee catcher Evan Russell has been cleared to play by team doctors, according to sources.
Vols head coach Tony Vitello spoke with the media following the opening win and said that Russell was sick and would be evaluated. After meeting with the medical staff on Saturday morning, the Tennessee catcher was cleared to play.
Evan’s father released a statement on twitter announcing that he’s been dealing with anxiety and stress.
“Evan has been cleared to play today !!! God is good… to answer all concerns and doubt. Evan is good and just to clarify what’s he been dealing with is anxiety, stress and pressure. Basically just the worries and conviction of the Lord… Evan’s Great!! Thanks to everyone!”
Tennessee AD Danny White also released a statement on the matter, attack the speculation about why Russell missed the opener.
“Thrilled to update that Evan Russell is feeling better and back with the team. Sad that over the last 24 hours this young man has had to endure speculation and criticism. In the future I hope that the media will prioritize the health of our student-athletes over unfounded rumors.”
All of this comes after an ESPN broadcast crew consisting of Lowell Galindo and Troy Eklund announced that Evan Russell had been suspended for PED’s, according to ‘reports and speculation’ they had seen. The fact that ESPN would go off unverified social media accounts is remarkable, but to air the rumors on a national broadcast is a whole new ballgame.
Tennessee released a statement on Saturday morning, attacking the report that was broadcasted during the Oklahoma State vs. Missouri State regional game.
“Evan Russell’s absence last night had nothing to do with any violation of team, NCAA, or SEC rules. We have been in contact with ESPN and they are aware of the situation regarding last nights comments made on their broadcast. ESPN is handling the situation and we are expecting a public apology from them later today.”
We will continue to follow this story at OutKick.