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UK Basketball: Jarred Vanderbilt held out of walkthrough; Joe Lunardi talks impact on seeding

Vanderbilt was seen walking around without a boot, but he’s still missing practice time.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The season began with Jarred Vanderbilt injury watch, so of course, that’s the case as the postseason begins.

By now, you know all about Vanderbilt’s latest injury, though it’s believed to be just a minor ankle sprain. Still, it remains to be seen if the freshman forward will play in the SEC Tournament.

On Wednesday night, Vanderbilt was seen at the team hotel without a walking boot:

Typically, even minor ankle sprains will have players wearing a walking boot, so seeing Vanderbilt without one is a good sign, but it doesn’t mean he’ll play in St. Louis.

According to Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Vanderbilt did not take part in UK’s morning walkthrough on Thursday. He won’t necessarily need to practice in order to play in Friday’s quarterfinal game, but at the same time, UK is probably going to be ultra cautious with a player who’s already had far too many foot and ankle injuries.

What kind of impact does Vanderbilt’s injury have on UK’s seeding?

In a Thursday conference call, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said he doesn’t think the injury will have big impact on UK’s seed for the NCAA Tournament.

“I don’t think, in their case, it’s going to be that huge of the deal,” said Lunardi. “Short of winning the SEC Tournament with or without him, they’re not in great position to improve their standing anyway, and I don’t think they’re in real danger of dropping very far.”

UK can leave no doubt about how they should be seeded by winning the SEC Tournament, but it will be hard to just win a game if Vanderbilt is sidelined.

Right now, my guess is Vanderbilt doesn’t play Friday, but not necessarily because he won’t be healthy enough to play. UK wants to win the SEC Tournament, but they also don’t want to have an injured Vanderbilt playing three straight days.

If UK wins Friday, I think it’s possible Vanderbilt plays Saturday or Sunday if UK makes it that far. I just don’t think it would be wise for him to play all three games in the span of less than 72 hours.

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