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Derek Willis has thumb injury; severity unclear

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One report had Willis dislocating his thumb during UK’s win over UT-Martin...

Stephen F. Austin v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Kentucky Wildcats may be without Derek Willis for next week’s slate of matchups with Arizona State and UCLA.

The senior forward suffered a sprained right thumb in Friday's 111-76 win over UT-Martin. He played in just eight minutes while finishing with two points on 1-of-3 shooting with one block and one rebound.

After the game, Calipari seemed concerned about the injury, though he added that Willis told him he’s fine. When asked if Cal anticipated Willis would be out very long, Cal replied, “I have no idea. I hope not.”

KSR’s Matt Jones reported during the game that Willis dislocated his thumb. If that’s the case, Willis would miss several weeks.

That wouldn’t be a big loss for UK, but it would be a terrible thing to see for Willis during his final collegiate season. With Willis out, freshman forward Wenyen Gabriel would continue to start and play 20-30 minutes per game. Against UT-Martin, Gabriel racked up 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting with six boards and one assists.

Senior wing Mychal Mulder would also get more playing time. He’s hit 13-of-26 three-pointers this season while adding a great spark off the bench. That includes a 12-point outing vs UT-Martin.