Kentucky starting nose tackle Melvin Lewis fractured his fibula in Saturday’s loss to Auburn and will miss the rest of the regular season, coach Mark Stoops said Monday at a press conference.
“He will get operated on tomorrow,” Stoops said. “He’ll be out for the season.”
He then clarified his comments and offered a timetable on Lewis’ surgery and recovery.
“It’s my understanding that it’s normally about a six-week procedure,” Stoops said. “So he’s getting surgery (Tuesday). I mean, we’re not counting on him for the remainder of the regular season.”
After saying Lewis, a 6-foot-4, 332-pound senior, would miss the rest of the year, Stoops hinted that the nose tackle could return for a bowl game if Kentucky were to play in one.
“We need to try to win a few games down the stretch here,” Stoops said. “And give him an opportunity to come back and play one last time in the blue and white.”
Lewis suffered the injury shortly before halftime against Auburn and was helped off of the field by Kentucky trainers.
Stoops indicated that sophomore nose tackle Matt Elam would be ready to step in and help the team.
“I think that’s a big part of it is that Melvin was a senior and really playing some good football and being a really good leader for us,” Stoops said when asked if Elam was held back because Lewis was a senior. “So, I think Matt, this will be a great opportunity for him, and I think Matt will do very well. He will rise to the occasion.
“I thought he did a nice job Saturday coming in there, because Matt is very close with Melvin. They are very tight off the field as well, and Matt really looks up to Melvin, and Matt was really disappointed when Melvin got hurt. But he’ll step in and do a good job.”