The Kentucky Wildcats have made it to the midpoint of the season without too many injuries, but they just took a big blow on defense.
Head coach Mark Stoops announced Thursday that outside linebackers De’Niro Laster and Kobie Walker have been lost for the remainder of the 2016 season. Both players are set to undergo surgeries to repair injuries.
Laster is dealing with a knee injury suffered during or right after UK’s Week 5 loss to Alabama. He has appeared in four games while making 14 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery, which came in Tuscaloosa.
Walker was sidelined by a shoulder injury in the first half of Kentucky’s Week 4 win over South Carolina. He started the season opener against Southern Mississippi, but was suspended for the Florida game. He totaled 10 tackles with one-half tackle for loss in three games before the injury.
This is a big loss for an already-thin linebacking unit ahead of their matchup with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Both players were getting a heavy amount of snaps when healthy, and this is really going to test the depth of UK’s backers.