Gameday is finally here for the Kentucky Wildcats.
They’re set to take on the Houston Cougars tonight, but it remains a mystery as to how much PJ Washington play will play, if at all. The sophomore forward returned to practice Thursday after being in either a hard cast or walking boot since Selection Sunday.
Washington wasn’t able to do much of anything for 10 days prior to the cast coming off Tuesday, which alone is why we shouldn’t expect a full workload from him tonight.
John Calipari alluded to as much Thursday, saying Washington would be on a minute restriction inthe 15-18 minute range.
Now, it sounds like 15 may be on the more optimistic side based on what Kyler Tucker of The Athletic is reporting:
To that end, from a fly on the wall inside the arena on Thursday: Washington was a partial participant in practice. He got up shots and ran through some drills. He looked like a guy who could give the Cats 10 or 15 minutes if the pain medicine is strong enough and his adrenaline takes over — or if Houston is successful in its plan to land some early haymakers and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Seth Davis of CBS Sports echoed those sentiments:
From everything I am reading and hearing it sounds doubtful PJ Washington will play tonight. And if he does it will be limited minutes and effectiveness. Hope I’m wrong.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) March 29, 2019
This is just one of many signs why we shouldn’t expect Washington to make a big impact tonight.
Prior to Thursday, I asked several gambling experts about what the odds for look like for Kentucky vs. Houston with and without a healthy Washington.
They agreed the line would be Kentucky at -2.5 without Washington. With a 100% healthy healthy Washington getting a normal workload, the spread would rise to -5.5.
As for Friday morning, all of the major sportsbooks have Kentucky listed as a 2.5 or 3-point favorite, so it’s clear they don’t expect Washington to make a big impact tonight.
Let’s just hope those limited minutes are some of the best PJ has played in a Kentucky uniform, but just seeing him on the court will be a great sight for players and fans alike.