Andre’ Chapman | (Analyzed Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats suffers a tough blow
During Thursday’s practice, Kentucky Wildcats junior small forward Alex Poythress suffered a knee injury, which was later confirmed to be a torn ACL. This will be a season-ending injury for Poythress because rehab typically takes 7 to 9 months to complete. This is a tough blow for the Wildcats, as Alex was shooting the best from the free throw line at 86% while averaging 5.5 points and almost 4 rebounds in 8 starts for UK this season. Alex was key to last year’s title game appearance run and was starting to find his stride for the 10-0 Wildcats. Although, this may create more opportunities for players like Trey Lyles, and Derek Willis, the knee injury to Poythress is still a huge blow for the #1 Kentucky Wildcats team. The injury to Alex doesn’t necessarily mean Kentucky can’t still accomplish the goals they have set for this season, however, the injury does mean the following with Poythress out for the season.
Kentucky fans will miss the chance to see if this would be the break out year for the junior small forward, as Big Blue Nation has waited to see if Alex would reach his potential as the Top 10 rated player coming out of high-school in 2013.The team will certainly miss the athleticism Alex’s brings to the team along with his defensive ability to guard and block shots. He was third on the team with 12 blocks on the season.The injury to Alex means that other players on the team will have the opportunity to step up and fill the void. Players such as Trey Lyles and Derek Willis are the next men up and will have every opportunity to step up in the loss of Poythress. Coach Calipari can go with Aaron Harrison or Devin Booker at the 3 spot if Lyles or Willis don’t pan out.With the rehab potentially lasting for 7 to 9 months, Alex may be returning for his Senior season stronger than ever instead of entering his name for the NBA draft like many expected.The injury to Poythress means the Platoons will be changing with Alex out of the lineup for the Blue Platoon. Calipari will probably go back to Trey Lyles, since he played well last game, and that’s how he started the Blue Platoon earlier in the season.
Alex Poythress’s injury will definitely force Calipari into tweaking the line-ups in the two Platoons or force him into abandoning the Platoons altogether, to go with his 7 or 8 best players. Losing the athleticism, leadership on the court, and defensive presence Alex provided is certainly a tough blow for the Wildcats, but with the injury occurring early in the season, Calipari and Kentucky have time to make the adjustments needed to continue on their quest for a special season.