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Auburn’s numbers thinning with injury to guard Samir Doughty

Charleston v Auburn

SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Head coach Bruce Pearl of the Charleston Cougars communicates with the team as they take on the Auburn Tigers in the first half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

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Auburn has enough players to play an actual, regulation basketball game, but the Tigers are starting to push it.

Samir Doughty, a transfer from VCU, joined the ranks of the walking wounded and unavailable this week when he suffered a high-ankle sprain that will sideline him a “few weeks,” coach Bruce Pearl said according to Auburn Undercover.

The Tigers could be down to just seven scholarship players when they take the court against South Alabama in their opener Nov. 6 with Austin Wiley suffering a sprained left foot and Danjel Purifoy suspended the season’s first nine games as part of the fallout of the FBI’s investigation into former assistant Chuck Person, who is slated to go on trial early next year.

Doughty, a 6-foot-4 guard, averaged nine points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 2016-17 as a freshman with the Rams before transferring and sitting out last season.

His departure means Auburn may have to lean on a walk-on, 6-foot-6 Myles Parker, for minutes in the early going of the season.

“He’s a good athlete,” Pearl said to Auburn Undercover. “Even though he’s a walk-on freshman, he went to a year of prep school so he’s a little older. He can shoot the ball. He’s not afraid. So I imagine, when he’s out there, he’ll look like he belongs out there.

Wiley could be available to play, but it would be on the early-end of his timeline to return.

“Austin is out of his boot and progressing and the timetable for his return would be similar — beginning of the season,” Pearl said according to Auburn Undercover.

Auburn, which opens the season ranked 11th in the AP poll after going 26-8 last season, will have to navigate a pretty challenging non-conference slate with a short bench - and decreased firepower - with Washington at home in the season’s first week before a trip to Hawaii for the loaded Maui Invitational.