By LARRY VAUGHT
Freshman forward Jared Vanderbilt will have his injured foot “re-evaluated in a week or so” by doctors and then Kentucky coach John Calipari said he’ll know more about his recovery timeline.
Kentucky announced Sept. 30 that Vanderbilt had a foot injury that would keep him out until the start of Southeastern Conference play. Then at UK’s Pro Day Sunday, Calipari said the injury might not be as bad as everyone first thought.
“It would be an unbelievable blessing for him and us if he was able to start playing,” Calipari said Thursday at UK’s Media Day.
“The doctors want to look at it a little more and then evaluate. Let him feel it.”
Calipari said he had some simple advice for Vanderbilt after he was injured.
“I am concerned with Jared and his health. I told him, ‘You are going to be fine but this hurts us,'” Calipari said. “We were really interchangeable until Vanderbilt got hurt. He could have been point forward.”
He noted that if UK wanted to press or use a small lineup, Vanderbilt would have been in there. Also if UK faces a zone defense, Vanderbilt would have been in the middle because of his passing and playmaking.
“That changes for us (with Vanderbilt out),” Calipari said. “How do we press? How do we attack in the middle of the zone? Last year it was Isaiah Briscoe (in the middle). We put him in there a bunch. So it could be a guard, could be a big.”
Calipari said the 6-9 Vanderbilt might be UK’s best shot blocker because of his ability to come from off the ball to block shots. “He was unbelievable (at that),” Calipari said.
There’s something else UK will miss with Vanderbilt out.
“The ability to stretch the court out both offensively and defensively hurts (without him),” Calipari said.
Calipari did say both Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones could play more with Vanderbilt out and Kevin Knox could now play more positions.
“One guy’s misery is another guy’s opportunity,” Calipari said.