Calipari clears up Terrence Clarke injury rumors: "He has an injury that he cannot play."

Jack Pilgrim02/10/21


Article written by:On3 imageJack Pilgrim
In most cases, injury news is met with sadness and sympathy, especially for long-term, significant cases. When Kentucky head coach John Calipari announced Monday evening that freshman guard Terrence Clarke would miss at least four weeks with an ankle injury, though, the news was met with confusion, skepticism and frustration. On the surface level, the curiosity had nothing to do with Clarke as a player or person, but more so Calipari's handling of the injury and the inconsistent updates fans have received since the freshman guard first hurt his ankle back in December. Initially, he tweaked his ankle in practice leading up to Kentucky's game against Notre Dame on Dec. 12, but was able to play through the injury. He re-aggravated the injury against North Carolina, and then played against Louisville at "80 percent, maybe," with Calipari comparing the injury to Ashton Hagans' ankle injury he played through in 2019-20. From there, Clarke missed Kentucky's games at Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama and Auburn before Calipari announced he would miss the next “week to 10 days” on Jan. 18. And then again on Jan. 27, the UK head coach said Clarke was still “a few games away” from returning to the floor. Frustrations within the fanbase had been consistent as the inconsistencies grew, but reached new heights last week when Calipari told reporters “there’s nothing wrong” with Clarke's MRI results, leading to speculation that the former five-star prospect may not be injured at all. And then just five days later, all hell broke loose when the UK head coach announced Clarke's season was likely over. “You know, Terrence wants to play so bad, we want him to play, I want him to play. I want to coach him and get him on that court,” Calipari said Monday evening. “There were tears today (Monday), his and mine. His tears were, it looks as though they want him out four weeks. Maybe something can happen sooner, but they don’t believe so. It’s crushing to these kids. When we had Keion (Brooks Jr.) out, I had to follow the docs, you know me well enough. “Here’s one thing I want to tell the fans again. They know their pain, they know their pain threshold. We were, again, in a situation, they said he was going to be able to try it. I said, “He’s been out a ton. How’s this going to work?” And bang.” Unsurprisingly, the legitimacy and seriousness of Clarke's injury was questioned by the fanbase, especially considering the back-and-forth updates Calipari has offered since mid-December. When asked about the struggles of the season and the players' continued fight despite Kentucky's 5-13 start, Calipari doubled down that - whether fans choose to be skeptical or not - Clarke hasn't given up either and his injury is legitimate and serious. "I want to say this, and I need everybody to listen and our fans to listen: the medical people, I'm not going to be specific of what's wrong, but he (Terrence Clarke) has an injury that he cannot play," Calipari said. "So everybody on this team, he cried. I cried. Because he's out another four weeks. "So it's not like anybody doesn't want to play. He was supposed to be our best player. We haven't had him, and now, you look at this team, I'm proud that they are fighting. We still make mistakes and we do some stuff." Through the difficult injury and watching from the sidelines as losses pile up, freshman guard Brandon Boston Jr. says Clarke is doing his best to stay positive. “He’s just trying to stay positive through this whole thing," he said. "There’s a lot of adversity and hate this year. We just have each other’s backs and tell each other to just smile through everything.” In seven games this season, Clarke averaged 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 31.3 minutes per contest.

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