Jarred Vanderbilt unlikely to play in Sweet 16


Kentucky freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt sports watches the Wildcat Marching Band as they play the nation anthem prior to the game against Alabama in the SEC tournament semifinals on Saturday, March 10, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri. Kentucky defeated Alabama 86-63. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

UK had hoped to have Jarred Vanderbilt back by the Sweet 16 from a left-ankle injury, but as tipoff gets closer, his status for the game remains a mystery.

“I’m going to watch him today in the shootaround,” John Calipari said before Wednesday’s practice. “My guess is no, but it’d be nice to have him there.”

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt hopes to play after practicing “a little bit” this week, but he knows if he plays, he will have a hard time making an impact.

“I probably would have limited minutes, but the guys have been playing well in my absence,” Vanderbilt said.

Calipari and Vanderbilt talked about the injury earlier in the week to assess how the healing process has gone. Vanderbilt said the ankle has progressed some since last week, but it isn’t healing as fast as he’d hope.

“It’s taking a little bit longer, it’s only been like a couple of weeks but like I said it’s been getting better since last week,” Vanderbilt said. 

Another thing that could hold Vanderbilt from playing meaningful minutes is UK’s opponent in the Sweet 16, who could cause problems from a player returning from injury.

“When you talk Kansas State, they’re physical, they play hard, they’ll fly and if they don’t have it, they grind,” Calipari said. “It’s hard walking into a game like that.”