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Danjel Purifoy could return against Alabama in AUTLIVE game
Jan. 20, 2017

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - After missing three games with an ankle injury, Auburn freshman Danjel Purifoy returned to practice on Thursday and could play Saturday against Alabama.

"We're going to see how he responded to that today, what kind of swelling took place," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said on Friday. "I don't think the trainers have made a decision yet. But I think there's a chance he could play tomorrow."

Purifoy, Auburn's second leading scorer (13.7 ppg), averages a team-high 29.1 minutes.

With Purifoy sidelined, Auburn has won two of three games, including Wednesday against LSU, Pearl's 500th career win.

With the victory, Auburn improved to 12-6, 2-4 in the SEC. Alabama is 11-6, 4-1 in conference play.

"I remember in the fall, making fun of the fact that (Dazon) Ingram, their point guard actually weighs more than my centers, which were Horace Spencer and LaRon Smith, and he does," Pearl said.

"That's not the case anymore, because Austin Wiley is here now, and so we've got a little bit more size and I think we'll be able to rebound the ball better," Pearl said.

Pearl started Spencer and Wiley against LSU, with Spencer playing power forward for the first time. He responded with a team-high seven rebounds.

Wiley, a freshman who has played nine games after graduating early from high school, averages 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds.

"No matter what they run, you've got to prepare to keep them off the glass," Pearl said. "Are there some things that we can do to speed the tempo up a little bit? I think so, because I think that would be to our advantage."



The Tigers and Crimson Tide tip off at 3 p.m. Saturday at Auburn Arena.



"We're hoping that we have 9,000 strong in Auburn Arena," wearing AUTLIVE t-shirts, Pearl said. "AUTLVE is Auburn's fight against cancer. We know that if you find cancer earlier rather than later, you have a chance to outlive it."

While at Tennessee, Pearl created OUTLIVE when one his players was diagnosed with cancer. When he came to Auburn, he changed the spelling to AUTLIVE. Proceeds from t-shirt sales benefit local cancer patients.

Pearl presented an AUTLIVE t-shirt to Auburn student Blake Fabiani, a leukemia survivor.

"When I was diagnosed, the doctor said had I waited another week to go to the doctor, I probably wouldn't be sitting here right now," Fabiani said.

"I was 23 years old at the time. I didn't expect to get cancer. The last thing you expect to get is cancer," he said.

Fabiani, who underwent a bone marrow transplant a year ago at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is majoring in software engineering.

"They call it the Auburn family, and it really is an Auburn family," Fabiani said. "I came back to a staff and faculty who were there to support me, help me every step of the way. Coach Pearl is working with me to bring awareness. We really do have a family here."

"I want you in the front row," Pearl told Fabiani. "I want you loud and proud and giving Alabama a really hard time.

"The bottom line is, because, thank God, Blake went to the doctor, he outlived cancer."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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