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John Calipari updates Derek Willis and Alex Poythress injuries; 'Next man up'

It looks like Alex may play this week, but there's still no telling how long Willis is out.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

This has been one of the most enduring and challenging seasons Kentucky has faced since John Calipari came to Lexington.

Never have the Cats suffered as many injuries as they've had this season, the latest of which being junior forward Derek Willis. He's not expected to play for at least several weeks due to a serious ankle sprain suffered during Saturday's loss at Texas A&M,

The good news is UK may get one of their key injured big men back if senior forward Alex Poythress is able to suit up this week. He underwent a knee procedure two weeks ago that was expected to sideline him 2-3 weeks, and his return is believed to be coming soon, perhaps as early as this week.

Calipari updated the status of both Cats during his SEC teleconference on Monday. Cal made it sound like Alex may play this week, but there's still no telling how long Willis is out.

"I haven’t seen Derek yet today, so I can’t tell you exactly how bad it is, if he’s playing or not. Alex (Poythress) worked out yesterday, don’t know if he’ll be able to go or not. Dom(inique Hawkins) is great now, I’m just happy we have him to come back to. Let him make some shots and change how we play a little bit. But it is what it is. For some reason, it doesn’t appear that anyone is crying for Kentucky. So it’s you just make do and look at your team the way it is and say, ‘How do we have to play with this team to give ourselves a chance to win?’ "

Cal also admitted the injuries to Willis and various Cats has made managing this team hard to do compared to most of his teams.

"Probably have, but they’ve just been – it’s not been like season-ending stuff. It’s all knick-knack stuff and guys have to miss games and you just try to make do. I’m not fazed by it. I’m not – we haven’t used it as an excuse. Next man up."