LEXINGTON, Ky. — The season hasn’t even started yet and Kentucky basketball has suffered a significant setback: 5-star freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt is expected to miss three months after suffering an injury to his left foot. He will likely need surgery and plans to return in January.
Vanderbilt, a McDonald’s All-American, dealt with multiple foot and ankle injuries prior to his arrival at Kentucky. His latest injury occurred Friday during team skill instruction, one day before the official start of preseason practice for the Wildcats.
“As I told Jarred, my concern for him is getting this thing right and getting him healthy for the rest of his career,” coach John Calipari said in a school-issued news release. “We’ll miss him on the court, but I want what’s best for him and his family, and right now that’s taking care of this injury and making sure he doesn’t have to worry about it again. With the motor and work ethic I’ve seen from him, I have no doubt he’s going to be better than ever when he returns and will provide us with a huge lift in conference play. Now it’s up to his teammates to hold the fort down until he gets back.”
Fortunately for Kentucky, its 2017-18 roster is loaded with talented and versatile forwards, including former 5-star recruits Kevin Knox, P.J. Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones. But Vanderbilt was no doubt going to — and may yet — make a significant contribution. The 6-foot-9 Houston native was ranked as high as the No. 9 overall prospect in the Class of 2017 by 247Sports.
“I just want to let the Big Blue Nation know I’m going to be fine and looking forward to coming back better than ever,” Vanderbilt said in the UK release. “I’ve had some setbacks before and I’ve come back from all of them. After talking with my doctor and my family, I feel good about the plan they have in place for me. I’m anxious to get this right and return to my team so I can put this behind me for good. I can’t wait to get back to my brothers and help us compete for a national championship this season.”