Just when people may have started to question this team’s toughness (as John Calipari often does), Kahlil Whitney dislocated his finger. If you weren’t watching closely, you could have easily missed it, as there was no stoppage of play. Instead of calling a timeout or even heading to the bench, Whitney ran to the other end of the court and fought for a defensive rebound. His efforts got the ball back to the Wildcats.
Then, he popped his own finger back into place. On the court.
Whitney then looked at his coach, nodded his head and gave him a solid thumbs up, as if to say “I’m ok coach. Leave me in.” Coach Cal clearly didn’t get the hint, because he pulled Whitney to the bench anyway. There were just over two minutes left in the game.
“It was all taped up, but I mentioned it [to the team] after… I mean, think about it. Like, his finger popped out and he went down and tried to rebound that way,” Calipari said in his post-game injury report.
Here’s a video of the accident, if you feel so inclined:
Kahlil Whitney gutted through a dislocated finger to make a game-saving play: pic.twitter.com/8WbJywMkus
— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) November 19, 2019
Whitney’s fellow Wildcats were seriously impressed by their teammate’s toughness in that moment.
“They don’t call him the dragon for no reason,” Ashton Hagans laughed after the game. “It just shows how much heart he’s got. He’s doing whatever he can do to help his team out, and we appreciate that.”
Nick Richards went even further with his praise.
“He’s got that Kobe mentality. I didn’t see his finger, but I heard that it popped out of place,” Richards said. “The fact that he came out and tried to get a rebound, that just shows how mentally tough he is. He’s willing to fight for every possession just so we can get a win.”
KSR’s own videographer Bradley McKee was on the sideline during the game, and he says he even heard the finger pop out of place. Will the injury mean Whitney has to miss any time during the team’s practices this week or either game this weekend?
“I don’t know yet,” Calipari said. “Let’s hope he doesn’t.”