The Kentucky Wildcats are set to take the court against the Missouri Tigers Wednesday night. This game comes after a full week off due to a cancellation of Saturday’s game against Texas, marking the longest break that the Wildcats have had during conference play in over 50 years.
The last time Kentucky had at least 8 days between regular season games in the middle of conference play was the 1966-1967 season, when they played Vanderbilt on January 5th and didn't play again until 9 days later, on January 14th against Florida.— Corey Price (@coreyp08) February 1, 2021
Kentucky has had three games canceled this season due to COVID-19 protocols, but Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge event was the first canceled due to concerns within Kentucky’s program.
From what we know, nobody on the roster has tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. However, an unnamed staff member around the program was exposed and that was enough to completely shut down operations.
At his pregame press conference today, John Calipari gave a brief update on Kentucky’s injury/COVID-19 situation. It sounds like there may be guys out Wednesday vs. Missouri, though it won’t be because of the virus, which would seemingly indicate most of the roster will be good to go.
Further clarification from Calipari: "At this point, I don't know (how many players we'll have). I think it'll be most of the guys. I don't think it'll be like five or six guys, it'll be most. As we speak right now, there’s nothing COVID-related.” https://t.co/hWLyFqJwnf— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) February 2, 2021
One obvious player likely to be out is Terrence Clarke, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. He has not played since Kentucky’s loss to Louisville back on December 26th. He had been struggling with an ankle injury in the week leading up to that game, but afterward, the decision was made for him to shut it down until he was completely healed.
According to Coach Cal, Clarke’s timetable is still up in the air as the team is waiting for the doctors to clear him.
Cal asked for latest on Terrence Clarke and says, "We're going by the doctors" and does not elaborate further. https://t.co/9tY1rqtwvS— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 2, 2021
We shouldn’t expect to see Clarke play Wednesday or for Saturday’s matchup against the Tennessee Volunteers since he’s not even returned to practice yet.
Clarke’s return would certainly make things interesting. The last month has been spent with the team settling into a regular rotation. Obviously those lineups are not producing offensively, so Clarke’s presence should be a boost.
One other player to watch for Wednesday is Brandon Boston Jr. He suffered an ankle injury of his own in last week’s loss at Alabama. He eventually returned but was clearly not right as he finished 2/9 from the field. You have to wonder if that injury is still lingering and could affect his status for Wednesday, though Calipari didn’t mention him in today’s presser.
Hopefully he’s good to go, as it’s hard to imagine Kentucky beating anyone if Clarke and Boston are both out.