Kentucky doesn’t play a basketball game until December 7, a rare week off after a flurry of action in November. Given the Cats’ current situation, that’s a blessing. Davion Mintz was out for the third straight game with an illness. Keion Brooks was back in the lineup after missing Friday’s game vs. North Florida, but only played 18 minutes. John Calipari said afterward a handful of other Cats are battling illness and minor injuries.
“We’re getting a little break and it comes at a great time because we’re sick,” Cal said following Kentucky’s 85-57 win over Central Michigan. “Today, Daimion [Collins] didn’t do the shootaround because he had a high fever. Keion [Brooks], we didn’t know would play until right before the game and you saw he was tired. He’s just — he looked tired. Lance [Ware], I think that ankle’s still bothering him. We don’t — Davion [Mintz] hopefully will be ready for the game next week. Bryce [Hopkins], his back has been bothering him. Jacob [Toppin], I mean, we’ve been beat up so we need now a couple of days.”
With the next week off, Calipari said he’ll adjust his practice schedule to give his guys time to heal.
“They’ll have off tomorrow and they’ll have off Wednesday. It’ll be an individual work day, unless you need treatments or something else that’s for you. It’s an individual day and then we’ll figure out what we’re doing on Thursday. That may be individual work. I may do conditioning and not do practice. Let them just get their wind back and then go Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.”
“Dontaie got his chance”
The only silver lining to all these absences is the opportunity it provides for others, namely Dontaie Allen. For the second game in a row, Allen played 19 minutes, finishing with nine points and six rebounds.
“Here’s the good thing about all the injuries and sickness,” Calipari said. “Who got a good chance to play a bunch? Dontaie got his chance to play a whole lot. Bryce got his chance to play a whole lot. Daimion got a chance to play a whole lot. Okay. Now you start looking and it’s, you know. You have your chance, now get in there and do it.”
Allen still struggled from deep, going 1-7 from the three-point line. This season, he’s only 6-26 from the outside. Calipari once again said he is fine with Allen missing as long as he hustles in other areas of his game; however, he was happy to see one go in tonight.
“Even the one he made, I called and said, ‘Hey, it’s about time you made one and by the way, you rattled it in. It hit the rim seven times.’ And he just started laughing because again, Dontaie can be a game-changer for us to go in the game and have great confidence because he did something defensively, he blocked it and all of a sudden, he gets a shot and bang. And he gets another shot and bang. And all of a sudden, the game changes. So, there is a spot for him.”
Get well soon, Cats.