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Kentucky Basketball: Jarred Vanderbilt updates his injury status

Vanderbilt gives an update that makes it sound like he’s still a ways off from returning.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Texas A&M C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

We already know not to expect Jarred Vanderbilt for the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend.

John Calipari said Monday not to expect the freshman forward in Boise this week for the Round of 64 or 32 if UK makes it past Davidson.

That was only reinforced Wednesday when Vanderbilt met with reporters in Boise. There, Vanderbilt said his ankle is just around 70 percent healthy right now. He also said he hopes to return in the second weekend if UK advances.

That pretty much eliminates any doubt that he’s out this weekend, and even expecting him to play in the Sweet 16 if UK advances feels like a stretch.

After all, Vanderbilt suffered the injury last Tuesday, so if he’s only to 70-percent health a week later, then it’s hard to see him getting to being healthy enough to play in Boise.

It’s going to be hard enough to get past Davidson and potentially Arizona with Vanderbilt, who leads the team in rebounding and is UK’s best defender. Arizona features freshman center Deandre Ayton. Having Vanderbilt to help defend Ayton could be a difference-maker.

If UK can get to the Sweet 16, top-seeded Virginia will likely be waiting, and it’s hard to see UK beating them without Vanderbilt, even if DeAndre Hunter is out.

Thankfully, UK is playing its best basketball right now. Even without Vanderbilt, it’s clear this team could make it to the Final Four. You’d just feel a lot better about those chances with your best rebounder and defender on the floor, but everyone has stepped up their game with him out.

There’s also this from SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker, which also doesn’t sound encouraging:

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