The Kentucky Wildcats may have to take on the Florida Gators without two of their most vital players, as Nick Richards and Ashton Hagans are day-to-day after suffering injuries against the LSU Tigers.
“Neither [Ashton] nor Nick practiced yesterday and that’s why I went in, I wanted to see,” UK head coach John Calipari told reporters Friday. “We’ll see. They’re day to day, both of them.”
They were both dressed to practice today, Kentucky Sports Radio reported.
Nick Richards suffered an ankle injury after landing on the ball following a dunk in the second half against LSU.
“It was pretty painful,” Richards told reporters. “When I watched the video, I was very surprised I didn’t break my ankle, actually. It was actually pretty bad, but during the game I had a lot of pain and right after the game, I just started getting treatment on it to hopefully fix it.”
Richards has been UK’s most important player this year. He’s the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer, their leading rebounder and their leading shot blocker. He’d be nearly impossible to replace if he can’t play Saturday.
Hagans would also be difficult to replace. He hurt his thigh after hitting the floor against LSU. As one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, UK would need maximum effort from Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley in his absence.
There’s also this from Kyle Tucker, who makes it sound like there’s a very real chance Hagans doesn’t play Saturday:
Having talked to some folks, I’d expect Nick Richards (ankle) to play tomorrow but think there’s some legitimate concern about whether Ashton Hagans (thigh) can go against Florida. Still limping pretty bad. Imagine he’ll want to and try to play, but Cal might play it safe.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 21, 2020
Hagans, who plays the point more than Quickley or Maxey, leads the team in steals per game and assists per game, and is fourth in points per game.
The Wildcats and Gators will tip off at 6 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday, with or without Richards and Hagans.