Since returning from his knee sprain, Reid Travis hadn’t shown any rust with averages of 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds on 68% shooting from the field in three games.
The graduate transfer was sorely missed in his absence, but he was able to rest up to play at his highest level for down the stretch in the postseason.
In Saturday’s game against Wofford, though, you could see that Reid may still be feeling some of the effects from his injury.
At one point in the second half, Travis seemingly checked himself out of the ball game. He took off the knee brace he’s been wearing, received some treatment and stretched out his leg while laying parallel next to the the Kentucky Wildcats bench.
Reid was able to return to the game and was crucial in Kentucky’s six-point win over the Terriers with 14 points and 11 rebounds on 50% shooting from the field while shooting 4/4 from the free throw line, including two to effectively ice the game with 17 seconds left.
Had Reid not removed the brace, even he was unsure if he would be able to contribute down the stretch.
“I was just cramping way too much. I wanted to keep it on but didn’t think I could finish the game,” said Travis, who said the reason it was bothering him so much was the how much the braces weighed, and he felt that it was cutting of his circulation.
“I knew if I kept it on, I was probably going to cramp down the stretch and wasn’t going to finish the game, so I kind of just made that call on my way own.”
Reid made a risky move to remove the brace, but it benefitted he and his team down the stretch.
From here on out, Travis is planning on not wearing the brace anymore, but he will need to see how he does without in practice before making it official.
Without PJ Washington, Travis has had to shoulder a bigger load in the paint. The last thing the Wildcats could afford is Travis experiencing any post-injury problems
Thankfully, they were seemingly able to dodge that bullet for today. For Kentucky to continue their run down the stretch, both bigs will need to continue to not only get healthy, but get healthy fast.
Kentucky knew they had the size advantage down low, and they had the strength advantage with Travis. He took advantage of that and helped UK overcome a bad offensive game to advance to the Sweet 16.