CRAWFORD | Kentucky's Poythress tears ACL, will miss the rest of - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Kentucky's Poythress tears ACL, will miss the rest of the season

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The University of Kentucky confirmed today that junior forward Alex Poythress suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in practice Thursday and will miss the rest of the season.

Lexington television station WKYT broke the story of the knee injury late last night, and social media began to buzz with reaction even before UK released a statement this morning. UK coach John Calipari said the news was devastating for his players.
“When you're coaching other people's children and these children have high aspirations and unlimited potential – not only to do things for themselves but for other people – I can't begin to tell you the feeling when someone gets hurt,” Calipari said in a statement released by the school. “My own son, Brad, tore his ACL last year. All I can tell you is I was physically sick when it happened to him. I feel exactly the same way now that it's happened to Alex.”

A date for surgery has not been set yet. The normal timetable following ACL reconstructive surgery is six to eight months.

“Our team was devastated for Alex when I told them,” Calipari said. “There were tears throughout the room because this hurt them to the core. How they will respond I really don't know, but I will do my best to be there for each of these kids.

“I told them, this is a big blow to our team. No one will be able to replace Alex and what he did for this team. I go back to last year's NCAA Tournament. Without Alex, we don't win those games. No one will be able to replace him, but now everybody has to do a little bit more as we try to circle the wagons.”

UK sophomore guard Aaron Harrison posted on Instagram, “I can't describe how much I feel for this man! He's not only my teammate but he's one of my best friends and it's really sad to see him down but on the bright side we all know that he's going to come back even stronger! Love you boy and keep your head up!"

Poythress' former teammate, Kyle Wiltjer, now at Gonzaga, posted, “Never a good feeling when someone close to you gets hurt but you know you're going to come back even stronger just like Nerlens did."

Poythress, a junior from Clarkesville, Tenn., was starting at forward in Calipari's platoon system and was playing 20.3 minutes per game, averaging 5.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game.

He twice considered going into the NBA Draft, but each time returned to Lexington.

He has played less than the 30-percent NCAA threshold that would allow him to apply for a medical redshirt if he would want to apply for an extra season.

"When I saw Alex last night, I said to him exactly what I said to Nerlens (Noel)," Calipari wrote on his website, “You're fine. If this is something crazy, you have insurance and you're a millionaire. You have even more time than Nerlens had to prepare yourself for the draft if that's what you choose to do. You can also come back. You're going to have your degree in May and you can start on a master's degree for your last year. Alex is nearly a straight-A student and one of the greatest kids that I've ever coached."

For now, Calipari faces the dilemma of replacing an experienced player on the wing. He has freshman Trey Lyles, who in fact started in Poythress' place in the second half against Columbia earlier this week. But filling that spot in his second platoon could be difficult. Certainly, Kentucky has the depth to cope with any injury. But for a player who has twice come back to campus and who is on track to graduate in three years, an injury that threatens to end his season is a terrible break.

"I have a lot of faith in this team and our individual players," Calipari wrote. "We aren't even close to where we could be if we just keep improving. Our goals haven't changed. Our path just got a little tougher."

Calipari is scheduled to meet with the media at around 2 p.m. Friday in advance of the Wildcats' game Saturday against No. 21-ranked North Carolina.

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