By LARRY VAUGHT
Even though he never came out of the game with an injury, Kentucky coach John Calipari said today in Jacksonville that sophomore PJ Washington sprained his foot in the SEC Tournament semifinal loss to Tennessee Saturday.
Kentucky opens NCAA Tournament play Thursday night in Jacksonville against Abilene Christian and would play the Wofford-Seton Hall winner if it advances.
Washington did not arrive at the arena with the team for Thursday’s open practice but Calipari said X-rays and a MRI on Washington’s foot were all negative.
“We sent him to a specialist. Again, precautionary. He wants to play. If you know me, I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s go get one more level of this,'” Calipari said.
“He wants to play, so we expect him. He’s not here with us right now. He’ll probably be here in an hour or so. We sent him to a specialist to make sure that he can’t harm himself. But we expect him to play.”
Washington did not make it to the open practice
Kentucky confirmed Monday that Washington had been in a walking boot since Sunday for precautionary reasons even though he was not wearing it during the NCAA Tournament selection show when media members were at Calipari’s home along with the team.
“If he takes the walking boot off, we’ve got a problem. He’s really good. He’s talented. He’s one of eight problems we have on their roster. They’re very, very talented,” Golding said. “I honestly — I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re still trying to figure that out.
“He’s an incredible talent. If he’s making shots and he’s scoring the ball on the block, then he’s really tough to defend. So we’ve got to try to force him away from the rim as much as we can, but that’s easier said than done. You’ve got four other pros on the floor with him, too.
“We’ve got our hands full on that and still trying to figure that out. If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love for you to share them with me, man. You’ve probably seen them a little more than I have.”