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Texas F Brock Cunningham suffers injury in practice

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The redshirt freshman suffered an apparent ankle injury in preparation for the Big 12 tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Oklahoma Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Facing a pivotal opening game in the Big 12 tournament against the Texas Tech Red Raiders that could determine whether or not the Texas Longhorns make the NCAA tournament, head coach Shaka Smart’s team could be down to seven scholarship players.

Redshirt freshman forward Brock Cunningham suffered an apparent ankle injury during practice on Wednesday. The Austin Westlake product had to be helped off the floor and Smart said later that the injury “swelled up pretty good.” Cunningham’s status for Thursday’s game is still unknown.

The 6’6, 215-pounder has quickly achieved cult status after entering the rotation last month against Iowa State and becoming a key linchpin to a defense that performed at a high level during the program’s recent five-game winning streak. Cunningham’s contributions have mostly been beyond the box score, but he did record eight points and 11 rebounds against Oklahoma last week in Norman.

If Cunningham can’t played against Texas Tech on Thursday, Texas will be down to only seven scholarship players with junior guard Jase Febres (knee), junior forward Jericho Sims (back), sophomore forward Gerald Liddell (back), and freshman guard Donovan Williams (knee) all out with injuries.