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John Calipari gives update on Jarred Vanderbilt and when he could play

Cal laid out where Vanderbilt is in his recovery and what his role could look like when he plays.

NCAA Basketball: IUPU - Ft. Wayne at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The return of Jarred Vanderbilt is coming soon, but it’s not quite set in stone as to when he’ll make his debut.

The freshman forward was one of UK’s top recruits in the Class of 2017. And with UK losing virtually its entire roster from last season, Vanderbilt was expected to have a major role with the 2017-18 Wildcats.

However, a preseason foot injury led to Vanderbilt missing the first two months of the regular season. It was initially believed he could return sometime in January, and it now appears that will happen...we think.

Following UK’s 74-73 win over Texas A&M, head coach John Calipari gave an encouraging update on Vanderbilt, who has began practicing again within the last week.

However, Vanderbilt is not far along enough to have a clear-cut date as to when he’ll make his debut.

“Even today, I loved him in the shootaround, but he’s just not mentally ready to go on the court,” said Calipari after the win. “I basically told him, ‘Listen, when you go in, you’re only going to play seven or eight minutes in a half. You’re going to have limited minutes for a while. I’m going to put you in there, let you run around, let you feel good about yourself, and you’re out.’

“But he’s going to have to make that decision, and it’s more mental.”

For much of the last two months, Calipari has been saying some version of “he’ll play when he’s ready” regarding Vanderbilt. It sounds like he’s close to being ready, and all the remains is when he feels is the best time for him to play.

“What he does, I never remembered him being as physically strong as he is,” Calipari added. “Like he changed up practice, and it was physical.

“But, I’m not challenging him (to play if he’s not ready to play).”

Prior to the game Tuesday, Vanderbilt was seen getting in more extensive work during pregame shootaround. At this point, I think his first game will come during the two-game home stretch against Florida (Jan. 20) or Mississippi State (Jan. 23rd), but that’s a complete guess at this point.

Jarred Vanderbilt pregame warmups

Jarred Vanderbilt continues to do more pregame work as he inches closer toward a possible return.

Posted by A Sea of Blue on Tuesday, January 9, 2018

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