By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
JACKSONVILLE — Kentucky will be without leading scorer and rebounder PJ Washington in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night.
Washington sprained his foot in a 82-78 loss to Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals last Saturday in Nashville. Washington was referred to a specialist to confirm the original diagnosis.
“The specialists confirmed our original diagnosis that PJ Washington has a sprained foot and there is no fracture,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a tweet Thursday morning. “Once we determined that PJ was not going to play today, they put him in a hard cast for precautionary reasons. He is out for today’s game.”
Washington wasn’t with the team during an open practice Wednesday here in Jacksonville.
Following the loss to the Volunteers, Washington urged his teammates to “keep their heads up” and “keep fighting.”
“We still have a bigger tournament and it’s more important,” he said last week. “We got to come out, be focused, be ready to play.”
The injury marks the second time the Wildcats have face adversity this season. Senior Reid Travis strained his knee in a 66-58 loss to Missouri in Feb. 16 and missed the next five games. The Wildcats compiled a 4-1 mark in his absence.
Travis played in Kentucky’s two games in the SEC Tournament.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21