The Kentucky Wildcats’ biggest issue right now is just keeping everyone healthy.
Ever since the UCLA game, various illnesses have affected the Cats throughout the season, the latest being De’Aaron Fox (stomach bug), who missed Tuesday’s overtime win over Georgia. If Fox were to miss Saturday’s game at Florida, it’s hard to see the Cats winning in Gainesville, but it looks like he’ll be good to go.
On Friday, John Calipari told ESPN’s Andy Katz that Fox will be a game-time decision. Elsewhere, KSR reports that Fox and senior guard Mychal Mulder were able to practice Thursday, which bodes well for their chances of playing Saturday.
Mulder has missed two weeks with an unknown illness, though it’s unclear if it’s the same what Fox is going through, or if it’s related to the flu bug that kept Sacha Killeya-Jones out of Tuesday’s game as well.
Whatever it is, senior forward Derek Willis has seen plenty of it, and he admitted Friday that this was an issue going through the team.
“I don’t know how many people we have sick, but the sickness is going through our team,” Willis told SEC Country before Friday’s practice. “Even away from the gym, I have friends that are getting sick, so it’s just one of those things that are going around. We had the lodge sanitized, all the stuff around here has been clean. So just taking that extra precaution, I guess.”
Redshirt freshman forward Tai Wynyard said that UK had cleaners come an clean the dorms in hopes of preventing any more illnesses from affecting the Cats.
“It’s just kind of annoying at times, having cleaners in your room and all that kind of stuff,” said Wynyard of the various ailments plaguing UK. “It’s just a bit different, having them all around, but it’s all good. You gotta do what you gotta do and you just gotta get through it.”
During his Friday meeting with media, assistant coach Joel Justus didn’t say if Fox, Mulder or Killeya-Jones would practice, but even without them, he isn’t letting this be used as an excuse for UK’s struggles.
“I mean, yeah, we’ve had guys out. We’ve had guys out of practice. I mean, it’s a college basketball season and those things happen,” said Justus. “You just look across the country at teams that are losing good players for the season or losing guys for games. It’s a bit of a thing of attrition. For us – I think in the big picture we’ve been generally lucky when you talk about some of the guys other teams have lost.”
For now, I think the Cats will have Fox and Mulder vs Florida while Killeya-Jones sits out another game.