By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday that both Nick Richards (ankle) and Ashton Hagans (thigh) are “day-to-day” and he’s not sure about the status of either one for Saturday night’s game with Florida.
Calipari joked that if both his point guard and center can’t play, he might have to go to walk-on Ben Jordan, a pitcher on the UK baseball team.
“We have Ben who can go out there and throw strikes,” Calipari said.
Richards, UK’s junior center, told media members he was planning to practice.
“We’re just going to see how it feels in practice and then we’ll figure it out from there,” Richards said. “I think my ankle’s pretty good. I’m just going day by day, getting treatment on it every day, listening to my trainer and that’s basically it.”
Richards injured his ankle when he stepped on the basketball after a dunk against LSU late in the game.
“I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think that’s ever happened to anybody, but what are you going to do about it?” Richards said. “It was pretty painful. When I watched the video, I was really surprised that I didn’t break my ankle, actually. During the game, it had a lot of pain and right after the game I just started getting treatment on it trying to hopefully fix it.”
Calipari said he planned to watch Richards closely at practice.
“He may walk off and say, ‘You know what I can’t go. Then you know what? Probably can’t go. If he feels good, he’ll let me know,” Calipari said. “These kids, the one thing they do and I trust is that they know their bodies. Their body says no, they’ll say no. Don’t want anybody playing hurt, playing 70 percent. You might as well not play.”
If Hagans can’t go, Calipari said point guard duties would be shared by Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley.
“I just know from what everybody else knows that he took a hard spill,” Quickley said Friday. “I think it started from, I can’t remember what game it was, he took a hard spill on his back and I think it hurt him more at LSU. So, we hope we can get him back. But if not, we’ve just got to be ready to go.”
Richards said not having him and/or Hagans would make a short bench even shorter for Calipari.
“There’s not really that many guys on the bench. Overall, I actually think that we’re going to be the same team. Guys are going to live up to the moment. They always step up for their roles. I don’t think there will be any issues when it comes to how we play,” Richards said.