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Derek Willis has “pretty bad sprain”; Calipari not sure when he might be able to return


Alex Poythress, right, and trainer Chris Simmons help Derek Willis off the court after he sprained his ankle Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Alex Poythress, right, and trainer Chris Simmons help Derek Willis off the court after he sprained his ankle Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Just when it seemed like the play of Derek Willis had given Kentucky exactly the boost it needed to be a Final Four contender, he’s now out with an injury.

Willis had to leave the second half of Saturday’s 79-77 loss at Texas A&M with an ankle injury and did not return. He was 1-for-4 from the field and had three points and one rebound when he left. He had complained after Thursday’s win over Tennessee that both knees ached and that he had hurt his ankle in practice earlier in the week.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the game that all he knew was that it was a “pretty bad sprain.”

Point guard Tyler Ulis would not use Willis’ injury as an excuse for the loss.

“It hurt, but we can’t think about it. Next guy has gotta step up. Isaac (Humphries) came in, Charles (Matthews) came in and everybody just came in, gave minutes for us and did a good job,” Ulis said.

Kentucky hosts Alabama Tuesday night. The Cats still lead the SEC at 10-4 with four games left since Tennessee beat LSU Saturday. LSU, South Carolina and now Texas A&M are now 9-5 with Vanderbilt and Florida at 8-6. Kentucky hosts Alabama and LSU and still has to play at Vandy and South Carolina.

Kentucky could get a boost if Alex Poythress could come back from his mysterious knee injury that has  kept him out the last two weeks.

Calipari said he wasn’t sure if Poythress would be back next week or not.

“Next man up. Maybe it’s Charles Matthews. Next man up. We’ve been doing it all year. Hearing about depleted teams and all this stuff. We’ve been doing it all year. Guy’s walking in prior to a game. He’s out. This guy’s out, that guy. It’s just next man up. You play the ballgames,” Calipari said.


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  1. Terrible news. To state the obvious, Derek has allowed our offense to flow better. Defenders have to respect his shooting ability and he’s been one of our more reliable rebounders. Cal is going to have to work his magic.

  2. If Willis is out for next few games, it might cost us the Vandy game in Nashville. Does anyone really expect to see Poythress anytime soon? Calling it a mysterious injury might be right on because it doesn’t seem to be an injury that anyone witnessed.

  3. I don’t know you Mike (thank God !) but I’ve never encountered anyone who thinks they know so much yet spew negative comments in the volumes you do. You lend new meaning to the term “couch coach”.
    If you have an issue with Alex, rather than hiding behind your keyboard, why not address him face to face ? I’m sure you could get your point across with much more clarity in such a setting.

    1. PK…..maybe a little too sensitive here…nobody is forcing you to read it…If POY comes in for Willis we are in deep trouble….at least you know you will get best effort every game from DW. He has some pride and passion as well….you will never be able to say that about POY.

  4. Let’s hope Willis can recover by tournament time. The young man was on a roll and coming into his own. Hate to see him lose that momentum.

  5. Like to see him go to high top shoes.

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