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Emoni Bates 'absolutely' plans on playing with Memphis Tigers men's basketball team when healthy, dad says

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Tyler Harris bobbles ball, but still gets it to Emoni Bates for a jam (0:16)

Tyler Harris bobbles the ball, but he recovers and lobs it up to Emoni Bates for a dunk. (0:16)

The father of Memphis freshman Emoni Bates told ESPN on Tuesday night that his son is dealing with pain in his back and "absolutely" plans to get back on the basketball court with the Tigers when healthy.

Elgin Bates said his son is questionable for Memphis' game on Thursday at Cincinnati. A report earlier Tuesday said Emoni Bates would not play and that his future at the school is in question.

"He has an appointment to see a specialist back home about his back," Elgin Bates said. "He's been having pain the past three weeks, and we're going to figure out what's going on."

A Memphis spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bates, a 6-foot-9 small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, is averaging 10.4 points and 3.6 rebounds this season for Memphis. The Tigers' most recent game was Thursday, when Bates had eight points and five rebounds in 22 minutes.

The No. 3 prospect in the ESPN 100 for the 2021 class, Bates missed three games early in conference play with a finger injury. But he returned on Jan. 9 and posted three consecutive double-figure scoring efforts.

Because Bates only turned 18 last week, he is not eligible for the 2022 NBA draft. He is ranked No. 20 in ESPN's most recent 2023 mock draft.

Memphis, which was ranked No. 12 in the preseason AP poll, is 11-8 overall and 5-4 in American Athletic Conference play. Following the contest in Cincinnati, the Tigers will host UCF and Tulane in their next two games.