The Kentucky Wildcats picked up a thrilling win over the Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday, and they did so without the services of Reid Travis.
The senior forward remains sidelined with a right knee sprain, and it’s been clear Kentucky isn’t the same team without him. The good news is the Wildcats have managed to go 3-1 without him, and two of those wins were Quadrant I wins.
The bad news is even in victory, it’s clear this team just isn’t as good without Travis, who will hopefully return for the postseason. He was hoping to return for Senior Day on Saturday when Kentucky hosts the Florida Gators.
Prior to, during and after Kentucky’s game Tuesday, some good and bad news came out about Travis.
The good news is commentator said he saw Travis running full speed on a treadmill. That may not seem like a big deal, but since Travis is dealing with a leg injury, it means he’s made great progress in his rehab. Running full speed in any setting would suggest he’s close to returning to game action.
The bad news is it hasn’t led to Travis actually practicing. Before the game, head coach John Calipari revealed on the pregame show that Travis has yet to practice since injuring the knee at Missouri.
While Travis running is good, it’s still not full-contact basketball. Until he goes through that, he’s not going to play in games.
After the game, Calipari gave another update on his senior big man that, while not encouraging, did offer some sliver of hope.
“I’m not gonna count on him for Saturday. I’m just not,” said Cal. “And if he says, ‘Hey, I think I can go and I can practice for a couple days,’ maybe shove him in a little bit to let him get his feet underneath him and see how he does. Maybe not.
“But I’m not afraid not to play him. This is about his health. The issue sometimes is you’re ok to go, but you’re just uncomfortable or you’re a little bit afraid of it. His is not. Thank God, his injury is not that one. He sprained his knee, but it’s still a scary thing for these kids.”
Hopefully, Travis returns to practice sometime this week, giving him a chance to suit up in his final collegiate home game. But at this point, I’m guessing we won’t see him until the SEC Tournament.
If Travis doesn’t return until next week, that would mean he got over three weeks to recover from what was believed to be a two-week injury. The only bad thing about that is Kentucky could theoretically play three straight games if they advance to the SEC Championship.
At this point, I wouldn’t expect to see Travis playing Saturday.