While every one of you noticed sophomore Ugonna Onyenso sitting out of the four games in Toronto this week while also arriving to the court on crutches and in a boot, it's no secret at all that he is injured. Wearing his warm-up gear and doing nothing but planting it on the bench all week, it was obvious that Ugo was not going to get to clock-in.
For the entire trip, word was that it was a rolled ankle and that his timeline for a return was unknown, but no one really knew if it was going to linger on all the way through the summer or be a short couple of weeks kind of thing. Turns out, it's much more than that and it will require surgery (on his foot) and will keep him out for "a couple of months" more.
"Nobody hated missing last week’s games more than him, and I know he’s going to work his way back to once again have a positive impact on this team," said head coach John Calipari.
Expected to get a high volume of reps this year and a chance to add a lot of value towards his keep with an offseason trip full of exhibitions, he had all of those chances ultimately thrown out the window with this injury. The foot injury took place when Kentucky first arrived to Canada and started practicing in preparation for the Global Jam event. A few days before the first broadcasted game, Kentucky had a private scrimmage against Team Africa in which Ugonna Onyenso suffered his injury in. Per a tweet from Coach Cal, Ugo had 6 blocks in the scrimmage and "impacted the game in a positive way."
While Kentucky looked to be thin for big men earlier in the offseason, they added Tre Mitchell from West Virginia to help fill that void. Of the trio of Ugonna Onyenso, Aaron Bradshaw, and Tre Mitchell, there is now only one who remains healthy. Aaron is missing the entire offseason and could even miss the beginning of the season with is ankle injury, and now it looks like Ugonna will join him for an extended time. If we hadn't gotten the chance to see how well Tre played in Canada, I'd be really stressing out on what Kentucky had planned to do to bring in a post presence by the start of the season. Even with two being out, the available roster appeared to be just fine handling the absence which allows them to comfortably heal and not try to rush anything back. Yes, there are no more games for them to 'rush back for' until the season begins, but if things had gone bad in Canada - or even worse, we didn't bring in Tre Mitchell - the rest of the summer would be a stressful anticipation for their returns and wondering how quick they could heal and return to activity.
Being realistic, Kentucky doesn't start playing any hard teams until they head to the United Center in Chicago on November 14 to face Kansas in the Champions Classic, so even with the Blue-White Game and Big Blue Madness set for mid-October, we don't really have to have the two back until mid-November if we want to give them the maximum amount of time to rehab their injury. The earlier the better of course, but the team seems to actually be pretty solid with Tre Mitchell holding down the post until they return for assistance.
Nothing goes together better than ankle injuries and Kentucky Basketball, amirite?