Briscoe, Willis should both play tonight

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Kentucky should have sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe back in the lineup tonight when it plays Arizona State in the Bahamas.

Briscoe  missed the last two games with what was first described as a pulled muscle. Now Kentucky coach John Calipari says it was a “butt bruise” after having a MRI done Sunday.

Alright now that I know what it is let’s go. Enough. It’s a thigh bruise. Now it was a deep one, and he had to miss a couple games, but at this point let’s go. He practiced yesterday. He was ridiculous yesterday. Really was,” Calipari said Sunday in the Bahamas.

“Then I was saying, ‘How in the world could you not play in the game and then the next game practice like you just did.’ Here’s what I said to my staff: ‘All these kids, there’s a fear hanging over them of what if something? Like, if you don’t know what that is, you probably take games off.’ After he knew what it was – with the MRI – he’s fine, but I don’t blame him.

“I trust a kid when he tells me, ‘I’m not feeling like I can go.’ Then don’t go. We’ll figure it out. I just hope that someone doesn’t play really well and take your spot. Because that can happen too.”

Senior forward Derek Willis jammed his thumb during Friday’s game but should also play.

“He shot better yesterday than he has in a month with a bad thumb. Looked like a sniper got him during the game, and then the next day he’s making every shot, so I’m not sure if, you know. But he’s fine,” Calipari said.

The Kentucky coach said he knows how painful a jammed thumb can be even though Willis told him immediately Friday he would be fine.

“Maybe it’s that they’re tougher than we think, that they’re playing through stuff. Like Derek said right after the game (on Friday), ‘I’ll be good.’ I said, ‘Are you OK?’ The doc told me there was nothing there. They did the X-ray and he’s fine. ‘Are you OK? How bad it is?’ He said, ‘No, I’ll be ready.’ So they may be tougher than we think,” Calipari said.

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