LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Kentucky coach John Calipari confirmed at his pregame news conference for tomorrow's game at Auburn that freshman Willie Cauley-Stein will likely miss the game, and that his status is undetermined because of a knee injury.
A UK spokesman confirmed earlier this afternoon that Cauley-Stein underwent "a minor procedure" on his knee on Thursday. Calipari told reporters today that the knee was one he injured in junior high school, and that Cauley-Stein could've continued to play using a brace or sleeve, but that trainers and coaches decided it was best if the problem was treated now.
"It's all good," Calipari said. "We're just one short for awhile."
Cauley-Stein, a 7-foot freshman, moved into the starting lineup for UK's game at Louisville and has started every game since, a total of five. In that span, he's averaged 7.4 points and five rebounds per game, while shooting 70.8 percent (17-24) from the field. He also has averaged nearly two blocked shots per game.
Calipari said the injury had been bothering him more of late, and despite starting Cauley-Stein logged only 15 minutes in Wednesday's win over Tennessee, his lowest total since Kentucky's loss to Baylor on Dec. 1.
Without Cauley-Stein, UK becomes a bit smaller team, but not much. Kyle Wiltjer, who broke out of a two-game slump against Tennessee, could get the call. Alex Poythress also could move back into the power forward spot, leaving Calipari to go with more shooting and ball-handling in a smaller lineup that includes Ryan Harrow, Archie Goodwin and Julius Mays.
Two players Calipari mentioned specifically -- Jarrod Polson and John Hood.
Hood hasn't played since UK's victory over Lipscomb on Dec. 15, sidelined by a lingering upper respiratory illness. He had some productive minutes early in the season, but has not played in the past six games.
UK faces Auburn at 9 p.m. Saturday in a game televised by ESPNU.
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