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Knee injury will keep RB Josh Clemons from showing his talent any more this season


Ronnie Sneed has seen plenty of talented Southeastern Conference running backs during his career as a linebacker at the University of Kentucky. He thinks UK freshman Josh Clemons is destined to be one of those SEC star backs, too.

“He is just a talented player. He is a freshman, but you see that raw talent in him. Sometimes you can tell he is young by the way he does certain things and that he might not have as much coaching as an experienced running back, but you can tell he has the potential to be a very good running back,” said Sneed, a senior. “He flat ran over somebody pretty good at LSU. He’s got talent and is going to be a great player for us. I could see him in the NFL one day.”

However, Clemons isn’t going to do any more running for Kentucky this year because he’s out for the season with a knee injury. He was the leading rusher for UK’s anemic offense with 279 yards and two touchdowns on 65 carries. Even with Clemons, a true freshman out of Georgia who has an 87-yard scoring run, the Cats are No. 119 out of 120 FBS teams in total offense with 229 total yards per game, 118th with 13 points per game and 105th in rushing yards with 110 per game.

Phillips said Tuesday that Clemons had a torn meniscus in his knee and had undergone surgery earlier in the day.

“On Saturday (at South Carolina), we recognized that Josh was a little gimpy and he was trying to go,” Phillips said. “On Sunday, he came in for a routine injury report and we got an MRI done yesterday and he had surgery this morning on his knee and is out for the rest of the season.”

Phillips said after the game Saturday that Clemons did not return to action in the 54-3 loss because the Cats fell behind and Raymond Sanders, the season-opening starter who missed three games with a knee injury, fit the passing game better. Sanders will get the start against Jacksonville State when UK (2-4) returns to action Oct. 22 after an open date.

Kentucky’s offense was hit with injuries to its offensive line before the season and also lost highly-touted true freshman receiver Daryl Collins to a season-ending knee injury in August. Receiver Gene McCaskill, the team’s No. 2 receiver who missed all of last season with a torn knee ligament, has been in just three games because of back problems.

“We feel for Josh but we feel for the other guys, too, because he’s a special guy to all the players on the team,” Phillips said. “We’ve got to get the other guys better. They’ve had some reps because of Raymond’s absence, so we’ve got some experience. In a year you have a ton of injuries, you also gain a ton of experience because of it. It’s happened this way with Raymond and now with Josh. Jon Jon (Jonathan George) got to play last week and CoShik (Williams) has been in the game and played a significant role so those guys are going to have to pick it up.””

Phillips was pleased with the team’s performance in what he said was an “upbeat, competitive” practice Tuesday.

“The mood is fine,” Phillips said despite his team’s four-game losing streak. “We had an upbeat practice with a lot of fundamentals and a lot of competitive work against each other. We worked a lot on our special teams, especially our return game.”

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  1. TheProfessor

    I hope they practiced a lot with punting.

    1. larryvaught

      Ouch Professor

      1. TheProfessor

        Just a little dose of sarcasm, but it is probably too early in the morning for most people.


  2. Andy P.

    Is anyone surprised that Randy Sanders gave Morgan a big hug and assured him that they (he and Joker) were sticking with him from now till the end.

    We’ve hit the iceberg and we’re taking on water. It’s just a matter of time.

    1. Ben

      What choice do they have? He is the only quarterback with any real experience. If they stick with him next year, they will lose the few fans they have left.

      I am glad the mood is fine with Joker and the team! Most fans that I know are in a deep depression and cannot understand what is happening with this team. Thank God for Basketball!

  3. P90XDude

    Wow – Sanders and Phillips sticking with Newton is like flipping a finger at the fan base.

  4. Tom Ryan

    Newton will be the QB in 2012 unless M Smith takes the job. If the staff doesn’t find some dependable blockers and receivers next spring, it won’t matter who’s at QB. Personally, I don’t want to Towles to play until we get an OL to protect him.

    1. larryvaught

      Tom, valid points you make about protecting any QB

  5. Jan in Indiana

    So sorry to hear this about Josh Clemons, he has been a bright spot this season, regardless of how bad the fans feel about this football season the players have to feel worse. I hope Josh has a speedy recovery and will not suffer a lot of pain.

    1. RJ

      Well there is some good news here. No torn ligiments. Miniscus injuries usually have a positive outcome unless something genetic involved. Josh should be good to go next year.

  6. Tana

    RJ, that is, indeed, some good news about Josh. Still, I surely feel for him (and the other injured players), and it’s certainly a loss for the team. Also, Jan, what a nice post, Girl, and I “hear you.”

    Also, in regard to Coach Sanders’ hug and assurances to Morgan Newton, I had listened carefully to former quarterback Dusty Bonner’s comments prior to the South Carolina game. Bonner said he thinks it’s better to stick with one quarterback. In other words, he had not really been in favor of Maxwell Smith’s replacing Newton at halftime of the LSU game. Bonner had been saying that a quarterback’s feeling that the coaches have confidence in him and will stick with him can be very important. Well, certainly, we have seen an even less confident Newton lately. So from this corner it’s just hoping that Newton now feels more confidence — and that it shows on the field.

    By the way, just recently, I read Newton’s stats for the Louisville game: 27-41 and 255 passing yards. Yes, the past three defenses have been much more formidable, but our future opponents should offer Morgan more opportunities. We definitely need a confident Morgan Newton — and here’s so hoping that none of our fans show ignorance by booing any lack of success by Newton next Saturday, for Newton, most obviously, needs all the confidence he can get out on the field. Back to Josh, bless your heart, young man, but I know great days are ahead for you. GO CATS!!!

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