ATLANTA -- As the ranks get thinner at Georgia Tech, there might be a bit of good news.
The Yellow Jackets could get sophomore Robert Carter Jr. back for Saturdays game against No. 20 Virginia. The 6-foot-8 forward has missed 10 games following ACL surgery and could return, if cleared by team doctors. Carter has progressed well, and this week took more reps in practice.
Hopefully he responds well, and hopefully hell be able to play some minutes, Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said.
Georgia Tech has missed Carter, who was injured in the teams final non-conference game against Charlotte. During his absence, the Yellow Jackets are 3-7. Carter was averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Georgia Tech has been outrebounded five times during Carters absence after outrebounding all 13 non-conference opponents.
While it looks like Carter might return, the Yellow Jackets could be without starting point guard Trae Golden, who aggravated a groin injury against Wake Forest and did not play against Clemson. Gregory said Golden likely would be a game-time decision.
Guard Chris Bolden played through an ankle sprain against Clemson and was limited in practice this week. Hes a bit gimpy but likely will play against Virginia. But swingman Jason Morris is out indefinitely with a broken right foot, and guard Solomon Poole, who had missed time with migraines, was dismissed from the team for conduct and accountability issues.
All the indecision has created an additional obstacle for the Yellow Jackets (12-11, 3-7 ACC).
Its almost easier when you know a guy cant play, Gregory said. Weve talked to everyone about being mentally and physically ready to go. The guys have responded extremely well.
Perhaps the most responsive has been senior center Daniel Miller. He has scored in double figures in seven of the 10 conference games and has three double-doubles during that span. Miller scored 18 points in a 45-41 loss to Clemson.
The Virginia game could be similar to the slugfest against Clemson. The Cavaliers (18-5, 9-1) have the No. 2 team in the nation in scoring defense (56.0 points per game), while Clemson is No. 1 at 55.0. Virginia has won six straight and not allowed an opponent to score more than 67 during that stretch.
We are going to have to play extremely well to compete with them, Gregory said.
Virginia is led by Malcolm Brogdon, who played at Greater Atlanta Christian averages 12 points and 5.6 rebounds, while scoring in double figures in all 10 of the Cavaliers conference games. Senior Joe Harris averages 11.3 points and is one of the best 3-point shooters in the conference. The Cavaliers have a solid inside presence with Akil Mitchell, who ranks fourth in the ACC with 8.3 rebounds, and shot-blocking center Mike Tobey.
Georgia Tech and Virginia split two games last season. Georgia Tech rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to win the game in Atlanta, as the Yellow Jackets tightened up the defense and limited the Cavaliers to only 28.6 percent from the field in the second half. Virginia won by 28 in Charlottesville. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 39-35 but has won just one of the past seven meetings.
Notes: The annual Letterwinners Game will follow Saturdays game with Virginia. Former head coach Bobby Cremins and All-American Roger Kaiser will coach the two teams. Among the former stars expected to play are Dennis Scott, Bruce Dalrymple, James Forrest, Malcom Mackey, Drew Barry, James Munlyn and Jon Babul.