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Badgers HC Greg Gard provides update on Connor Essegian’s injury ahead of Tennessee game

The Badgers could be without their sophomore guard in a marquee matchup on Friday.

The Wisconsin Badgers started off their season with a bang, defeating the Arkansas State Red Hawks 105-76, setting a record for the most points scored at the Kohl Center.

However, all wasn’t good in the victory, as sophomore guard Connor Essegian sustained what appeared to be a back injury after three minutes of action and did not return.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s marquee matchup against the Tennessee Volunters, head coach Greg Gard provided an injury update on his guard, citing him to be day-to-day.

“He’s day to day. He did a little bit today. See how he responds again tomorrow,” Gard said Wednesday about Essegian.

Essegian was limited in Wednesday’s practice, primarily working with the trainers, leaving his status in question against Tennessee.

“Yeah, he was just doing mostly stuff with the trainer today. He did some stuff this morning too, [just] shooting,” Gard said.

The sophomore was the first guard off the bench on Monday, but if he can’t go, it’s next-man-up mentality for Gard and the Badgers.

“Yeah, that’s what we’ve always played. The next guy has got to step up and that’s the benefit. You don’t want to have injuries but if something does happen, get guys ready to go,” Gard said.

In Monday’s victory, the Badgers got contributions from freshman John Blackwell, who scored 12 points on 100% shooting, while Isaac Lindsey appeared to take Essegian’s role in the second half, playing 17 minutes overall and scoring eight points.

The Badgers are set to face off against the Volunteers on Friday, with tipoff set for 8 P.M. at the Kohl Center.