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What you need to know about CJ Fredrick's injury, surgery and timeline for return

Jack Pilgrim07/12/21


Article written by:On3 imageJack Pilgrim
<small>Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics</small>

Kentucky guard CJ Fredrick underwent surgery on a preexisting leg injury early Monday morning, one that will not only have him back in time for the team’s season-opener in November, but well before preseason action begins this fall, sources tell KSR.

John Calipari announced publicly Monday afternoon that the former Iowa sharpshooter had a “minor procedure” done today that was successful and will have him “ready to go for the season.”

“(CJ Fredrick) had a minor procedure today that needed to be done at some point before the season,” said Calipari. “He and his family decided to be proactive and have it done now rather than wait. We are all happy it went well and he will be back better than ever and ready to go for the season!”

As a redshirt freshman, the former Covington Catholic standout missed six games due to a stress reaction in his left foot, along with sitting out the second halves of two other matchups. And then this past season, he missed four full games and missed time in three others as he battled plantar fasciitis.

Sources tell KSR that Monday’s surgery was done not to repair a new injury, but instead fix a lingering issue stemming from his time at Iowa. After a successful start to his time in Lexington – Fredrick had dedicated his first month-plus on campus to getting back in game shape and transforming his body, already losing ten pounds since his arrival – the nagging leg injury resurfaced midway through last week and the redshirt junior decided to get it checked out by team doctors. The lower-leg issue wasn’t painful, but there was growing irritation.

On Friday, doctors presented Fredrick with various pathways to recovery after X-ray results confirmed the minor injury, with surgery being among the options on the table. Doctors were confident the injury would heal on its own and surgery was not required, but the timeline for return to full strength was unclear and the risk of potential issues down the road remained.

The surgery option was one that was relatively stress-free and guaranteed Fredrick would be back to 100% in the coming months and on the floor in time for the season-opener in November, one the natural healing process did not. When deciding on options over the weekend, sources tell KSR that Fredrick pushed for whatever would get him back on the floor the soonest and would remove any lingering health concerns, clearly favoring the clean-up procedure. Calipari was extremely supportive of the immediate fix, taking away any serious concerns that may have popped up during the season had Fredrick turned down surgery.

Sources tell KSR that there is strong optimism on Fredrick’s side and with team doctors that the 22-year-old’s lingering health concerns are behind him both in the short and long term. The UK guard left the hospital and returned to the Wildcat Coal Lodge in crutches shortly after the procedure, with rehab set to begin on Tuesday.

One thing team doctors have made clear with Fredrick is that they will be patient with the rehab process and refuse to rush him back to the practice floor before he’s ready, a breath of fresh air for the redshirt junior who played through various injuries at Iowa and is ready to put his past health issues behind him. Fredrick will be back on the practice floor later this summer and there is no concern regarding missed playing time.

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