Alex Poythress was a strong athlete with a lot of potential for the University of Kentucky who will be missed for the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Poythress is a 6-foot-8 junior who had started every game for UK this season.
Poythress suffered the injury during practice Thursday in Lexington. UK will be dealing with its first major injury of this season.
The loss of Poythress will cause obvious changes in the Blue platoon and UK's rotations overall.
The Wildcats don't have another physical presence like Poythress who is a great jumper and can defend several positiions. The key word there is physical presence. The 6-foot-8 Poythress has been something of an enigma because he has vast potential but hasn't been as much of an "all-out" player as UK coach John Calipari would like.
UK has enough depth to cover the position at small forward. The White platoon has been Dakari Johnson at center, Trey Lyles and Marcus Lee at the forward spots. Look for one of those players to move to the Blue platoon, unless John Calipari wants to go smaller.
Lyles would be the obvious choice because he is 6-foot-10, is very versatile with a good outside shot and has been a strong rebounder the last couple of games for UK. Lyles has grabbed 10 rebounds in each of UK's last two games.
Over the last two years, UK has lost Willie Cauley-Stein and Nerlens Noel to in-season injuries. Cauley-Stein missed the last three games of the NCAA Tournament run in 2014 after he was injured during UK's Sweet 16 win over Louisville.
Cauley-Stein and Poythress are suite mates at UK, and Cauley-Stein's positive world view, and experience with an injury that knocked him out of action on college basketball's biggest stage, should give Poythress needed insight during his recovery from surgery and rehabilitation process.
It is also possible that Poythress could be granted a medical redshirt.
Here is the full press release from UK about Poythress' injury.
UK men's basketball junior Alex Poythress will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in practice on Thursday.
“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. “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.”
Poythress, a 6-foot-8 forward from Clarksville, Tenn., was averaging 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in his third season for Kentucky. He has played in a team-high 80 career games with 38 starts.