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Jarred Vanderbilt injury update: Return will be dictated by cautious approach

Vanderbilt isn’t rushing back on the court in wake of his foot injury.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Media Day Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

While Jarred Vanderbilt’s current injury status isn’t as bleak as it once was (Remember when John Calipari said he might not play at all this year?), the Cats still will be without him awhile as he’ll take a cautious rehab approach, Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

Tipton spoke to Jarred Vanderbilt’s father to get a read on how cautious Vanderbilt will be in returning to basketball.

“It might be a little sooner than that,” Robert Vanderbilt, Jarred’s dad, said of him returning in January, according to Tipton. “But Coach Cal has not talked about that. He’s talked about ‘We’re not going to rush him back.’”

Vanderbilt is nursing a left foot injury that was originally believed to require surgery. That was changed to rest and rehabilitation. Vanderbilt was in a walking boot until recently, and is now out of that but will still be out for some time.

No timetable has been revealed, but Cal has said that one exists. That alone is a good sign that Vanderbilt’s return will come a lot sooner than in January as originally thought.

Until then, UK should be able to hold the fort down with P.J. Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards in the frontcourt. All of them have shined in the exhibition slate, and it’s no guarantee that Vanderbilt was going to get a heavy workload with those aforementioned bigs earning minutes as well.

Still, it’s hard to see this UK team reaching its ceiling without Vanderbilt, whether he’s playing for 15 minutes or 30 minutes. His ability to impact a game in a variety of ways is just too great.

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