LEXINGTON, Ky. — Will he or won’t he return this season?
Kentucky QB Drew Barker hasn’t played since the first series against New Mexico State in Week 3 and a cloud has hovered over the question of whether or not the former starter will play again this year.
“No big jump one way or the other,” was the update coach Mark Stoops gave at his Monday press conference.
Barker is dealing with a chronic back injury and was initially given a 3-5 week period before doctors would reevaluate him. That timeline is up and there’s still no clarity as to when the junior will return for the Wildcats.
As for if he could be suited up by the end of the season?
“Not going to rule it out yet,” Stoops said. “So, not ready to make that decision — or the doctors aren’t ready to make that decision.”
Monday’s update sounded more grim than the one Stoops provided just five days ago.
“He’s in there getting rehab so we’ll see how it goes in the next week or two,” Stoops said last week. “I think he is getting better but we have been cautious with him and hopefully we can continue to do that and hopefully he’ll feel stronger and stronger.”
Barker has officially been ruled out for the Mississippi State matchup at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
Junior QB Stephen Johnson will continue to act as Barker’s replacement for an indefinite amount of time. Kentucky would turn to freshman QB Gunnar Hoak if Johnson were to get hurt.
Barker was on the field during warmups before the Vanderbilt game, still hanging close with the quarterback group.
“He’s been very supportive and he helps any way he can,” Stoops said. “I’ve been proud of him that way. He’s worked hard. It’s hard to get in the position he did and it was very quick start, so I don’t know how the ending is going to go and I don’t think he does, but he’s doing whatever he can to help and I appreciate that.”