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Drew Barker injury update: Still uncertainty he returns this year

Kentucky v Florida Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It looks like the Kentucky Wildcats are still uncertain if they will have Drew Barker back at some point this season.

The redshirt sophomore continues to rehab from a back injury that began in fall camp and worsened enough that he's missed the past month of action. Head coach Mark Stoops said Wednesday that the team will not reevaluate Barker until after UK's bye week.

"It's a touch too early for that right now," Stoops said. "He's in there getting rehab so we'll see how it goes in the next week or two. I think he is getting better, but we have been cautious with him, and hopefully we can continue to do that, and hopefully he'll feel stronger and stronger.

That update would seem to indicate Barker will not play next week vs Mississippi State, and Stoops all but confirmed that would be the case, saying Barker would be "week to week" following the Week 8 clash with the Bulldogs. Stoops also said the team has no plans for Barker to play next week.

Initially, Barker was given a 3-4 week timetable for his recovery and possible return, but the fact that we've hit that mark and Stoops doesn't have any real positive news on it suggests it didn't heal as fast and/or properly as UK had hoped.

It's getting harder to see Barker coming back this year, but there are still five games left. Whether or not Barker returns for any of those could also be affected by how well UK is playing and if they're still in bowl contention by the time November rolls around.

All UK needs to do for that to happen is beat Mississippi State next week or win at Missouri the following week. Neither will be easy, but at least there's a chance for UK to make a bowl, as well as a chance that Barker returns to be part of it.

Expect Stephen Johnson to remain the starter for the foreseeable future.