The official Kentucky Athletics website has announced today that Jemarl Baker underwent knee surgery last week. Before, it had been said that he would have a knee scope to investigate his lingering soreness and would miss three months. The timetable is still the same, but we now know why he is set to be out for so long.
When I didn’t see Baker on the bench for the Morehead exhibition alongside injured teammate Jarred Vanderbilt, I wondered if there was more to the story than we had been told up to that point.
Calipari said that Baker had surgery before he got to Kentucky, but the healing process did not proceed as planned and he had been dealing with it ever since. The good news for Kentucky fans is that Cal seemed especially confident that he’d get Baker back sometime this season.
“With this surgery we're going to get this thing right and get Jemarl back during league play,” Calipari said. “We were hopeful he would provide us some immediate shooting, but now it's like getting a mid-year guy that can help provide us some depth as we get into the heart of our season. Our main focus at this point is getting him healthy for the rest of his career."
At this point, I think Kentucky fans have to consider only the healthy roster, and Jarred Vanderbilt (who has been receiving great feedback lately and might actually start practicing soon) when they have this season in mind. Anything Baker might give during conference play is going to be an extra.
You can’t dismiss the chance that Baker never sees the floor this season and takes a medical redshirt. However, this is the most upfront that Cal has been regarding an injury since this summer when Vanderbilt got hurt in the Jordan Brand Classic and people were left speculating the extent of his injury for weeks. He does say that “(we’ll) get Jemarl back during league play.” If Cal is confident, I will be too.
Let’s hope he young man has an easy recovery and is helping the Cats in March.