By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
Tennessee center Mercedes Russell finally gets to play with her Lady Vols teammates again this week as she continues her comeback from foot surgeries.
But the Lady Vols must wait to play in a game situation alongside North Carolina transfer Diamond DeShields.
Tennessee leaves Wednesday for a three-game exhibition tour of Italy in which DeShields and senior forward Bashaara Graves aren’t expected to play. Both are making the trip.
Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick says she’s resting both players for precautionary reasons as Graves recovers from “tweaks in her shoulder” and DeShields deals with shin splints. Warlick expects both to be ready for the start of the season.
Russell says she’s at 100 percent after redshirting last season to recover from surgeries on both feet.