Just under an hour before tipoff were we informed that Kentucky's starting point guard and starting small forward were going to be sidelined for Kentucky's rematch against the Florida Gators. On the UK Sports Network pregame interview with Tom Leach, the Head Coach ruled out the two due to injury related circumstances.
Justin Edwards came off the bench at Arkansas due to a leg injury suffered in an hour-and-a-half long scrimmage last Friday. He would end up playing 9 minutes in Fayetteville. DJ Wagner, who has played in 18 games for the Wildcats this year, was out to an ankle injury which was not disclosed on how it happened. Putting the pieces together, it had to have happened likely on Tuesday's practice because it wasn't mentioned during John Calipari's Monday night call-in radio show appearance.
The starting five was shaken up drastically come game time against the Gators, moving Reed Sheppard to the starting point guard, Adou Thiero returning back to the starting forward position, and Ugonna Onyenso stepping into Aaron Bradshaw's spot. With No. 5 Tennessee coming to Rupp Arena this weekend, John Calipari was asked on if he felt like he would have his full roster back or not for the matchup.
"I don't know if we will have a full roster or not, but we've got no choice. They're (Tennessee) coming in, they're really good, they're really veteran..."
One would hope that DJ Wagner will make a return if Kentucky wants a fair chance to take on the Volunteers because his absence is really felt on this team. Reed Sheppard does just fine when called upon to step up, but I'm just not sure if he has everything that it takes at this moment to run this offense entirely, especially since they're 0-2 in that situation. It's hard to tell that status of players when John Calipari doesn't give you consistent updates on his players, such as right now we don't know the extent to how serious or how minor DJ's ankle injury is, and if he'll be back for the next game or out three more weeks. It's up to us to determine when we think that'll be and in the time he does give glimpses of updates, we have to read through the lines on that too.
With Justin Edwards, I think you just let him heal up to 100% and return him at his own pace. Kentucky isn't desperate for his return as he doesn't provide you the production that was once projected of him, and this roster honestly doesn't need him right now so there's no sense in rushing him back. With DJ, this team does need him. Hopefully he can return as quickly as possible at a healthy discretion. Long-term is what we're concerned about and they both need to take the appropriate steps within their returns.