The Kentucky Wildcats are set for another tough road test when they face South Carolina on Tuesday.
What could make the game even tougher for the young Cats is a number of injured players uncertain for this game. That includes starting guard Quade Green, who has missed the last two games with a back injury.
Payne said that Green has not returned to practice as of Monday after missing all of last week, but Green is inching closer to a return.
“I know he’s getting close,” said Payne.
Still, don’t count on Green playing Tuesday.
The Cats are also with Jarred Vanderbilt, who has yet to make his college debut after suffering a preseason foot injury. However, Vanderbilt has progressed enough that he could make his debut any day now.
But as close as Vanderbilt is, UK is letting him play when he’s ready.
“Hopefully it’s soon,” said Payne. “It’s wrong for adults to force a kid to do anything if they don’t feel like they’re ready yet. Coach Cal’s not going to do that.
“We’re all leaving it up to him.”
Payne added that Vanderbilt still has a mental hurdle he has to clear before the freshman is ready to play a college game.
I still think Vanderbilt makes his debut either Saturday vs Florida or next Tuesday vs Mississippi State.