By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington is “trying” to get back to where he can play Friday night against Houston in the NCAA Tournament but said today it is still “up in the air” about whether he will play or not.
He missed UK’s first two NCAA wins with a “sprained” left foot that was in a walking boot, then a hard cast and then another walking boot. He was not wearing a walking boot in Kansas City today.
“I’m in a good place. I went to get checked out. The doctor said pretty much some good things. So I’m happy where I’m at, and I’m just trying to get better,” Washington, UK’s leading rebounder and scorer, said. “I walked over here. That’s good. I don’t know yet. I’m thinking of giving it a go (in practice). It’s just in the air, like I said earlier.”
Washington said he had not practiced or put any pressure on the foot yet to see what he can do. He also said it was coach John Calipari’s idea to post the video on Twitter Wednesday of him walking without a cast.
“I feel good. It’s just about going out there and seeing if I can do stuff on the court,” he said.
Calipari said the sophomore had been on an “ultra, ultra G, which takes his weight, lightens him up so he can get used to running” again. He also said the doctor told Washington he couldn’t hurt himself or Calipari would not even consider letting him try to play.
“Doc said, ‘You’re going to be in pain after the game if you do play, but you know how much pain can you deal with,'” Calipari said. “He wants to play. Now, it’s can he play? We don’t know. If anybody is guessing, you know, we just don’t know yet.”
Calipari said if Washington is say 80 percent healthy, he would probably tell him not to play. He said when Reid Travis was injured, he used the same approach and Travis managed to play 15-18 minutes his first game back after missing five games with a knee injury.
“If PJ plays more than that, I would be stunned, surprised. If he doesn’t play at all, I would not be surprised. So, we’ll just laugh to see,” Calipari said today.