Blair Green is rediscovering her confidence after injury

Grant Grubbsby:Grant Grubbs01/04/23


Blair Green demands excellence even when excellence is nearly impossible.

The Harlan County native is in her fifth season at UK. After suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon last year in a preseason scrimmage that cost her the entire 2021-22 season, Green decided to come back for one last dance. However, at times, Green looks like she’s dancing with two left feet.

In Kentucky’s demoralizing loss to Arkansas on Sunday, Green scored 14 points while shooting 5-19 from the field. This isn’t the first time efficiency issues have reared their ugly head for the 6-foot-2 guard. Green is shooting 39.5% from the field and 27.5% from beyond the arc this season.

Head coach Kyra Elzy expected this slow transition and constantly encourages Green to remain positive.

“We kept telling Blair, ‘Give yourself grace.’ You did not play or compete for a year and so you just don’t come back to the practice floor — no matter how much rehab, one-on-one shooting you do in rehab, it’s nothing like getting in the game and playing,” Elzy said during her radio show on Monday night.

Green’s lofty standards for herself aren’t daydreams. The veteran leader is more than capable. Green has scored in double figures seven times this season and in three straight games. Until the loss to the Razorbacks, Green’s efficiency was trending upward as well, shooting 50% against both Ohio and Missouri.

The ‘Cats desperately need Green’s talent. The team has lost five of their last six, often due to a lack of offense. Green is one of only three players scoring double digits regularly, averaging 9.9 points per outing. For Kentucky to turn its season around, they’ll need even more from Green.

As someone who’s been through this before, Green knows she can’t let the team’s recent play weigh her down.

We just can’t be discouraged and keep our head down. We just have to keep working and just look at earlier. I mean, like we kind of know what we went through last year and we don’t want to continue that trend,” Green said on Sunday following Kentucky’s defeat.

Green’s words are music to Elzy’s ears. While the third-year head coach must keep her team focused, she must also ensure Green continues to improve.

“Part of coming back from an injury, once you’re cleared, everybody thinks you can just go back to the player that you were and that does not happen for anybody,” Elzy said on Monday evening. “[Green] has found her stride and I think she’ll continue to get more confident as the season goes on.”

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