Although Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin didn't rule Maymon out for the Volunteers' Nov. 9 opener with Kennesaw State, he's preparing to start the season without the second-team all-Southeastern Conference selection.
"Jeronne had a minor setback, so we probably won't have him at the start of the season," Martin said before the Vols' Wednesday afternoon practice.
Martin wouldn't estimate when Maymon might be ready. He didn't go into detail on what caused Maymon's setback.
Maymon underwent arthroscopic surgery on each of his knees in two separate offseason procedures. The 6-foot-7 senior had surgery on his right knee in March to repair torn meniscus. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in June.
He averaged 12.7 points and ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference with 8.1 rebounds per game last season. His leadership on and off the floor helped the Vols go 19-15 overall and 10-6 in the SEC after being picked by conference media before the season to finish 11th in the league.
"It's always tough when you lose that kind of a guy," Martin said. "Obviously he's not lost for the season, but it's a case of if we don't get out of the gates with him our first game of the season, (you miss) that type of mental leadership, mental toughness. Obviously his skill level speaks for itself, but that type of leader doesn't come by every day."
Tennessee does have plenty of depth in its frontcourt.
Jarnell Stokes, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds in 17 games last year after joining the team at midseason. Stokes was a first-team selection and Maymon was a second-team pick on the preseason all-SEC team announced Monday.
The Vols also return 6-9 senior forward Kenny Hall and 6-9 sophomore center Yemi Makanjuola. Hall made 16 starts and compiled 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year before being suspended for the final nine games of the season. Makanjuola averaged 2.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 8.3 minutes as a freshman.
Tennessee's post players have said they believe they have one of the nation's best frontcourts. Stokes said Wednesday that this frontcourt remains very strong even without Maymon. But his absence would leave a major hole, at least in the short term.
"You're not talking about a guy who doesn't play," Martin said. "You're talking about a major factor in your program. I think guys have been practicing without him, so they've kind of got a feel for it. It's one game at a time and you work from there."