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Kentucky won, but all anyone cares about is Reid Travis’ knee

© Denny Medley | USATSI

© Denny Medley | USATSI

For about 90 minutes, this felt like a typical mid-February game vs. a bad SEC team. Kentucky was up by 15 and Missouri was trying to stay alive by slowing the game down to an excruciating crawl.

That’s when it happened; Keldon Johnson went up for a defensive rebound and fell into Reid Travis on his way down, causing Reid’s right knee to bend inward. Reid immediately fell back in pain, clutching his knee, and when Kentucky called a timeout, limped off the court. From there, he went to the locker room. Ten minutes later, Kentucky announced that Reid had a sprained right knee and would not return. Afterwards, John Calipari didn’t have any specifics, simply saying Reid will get an MRI and hopefully be okay, and if he’s not, EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards will have to step up in his place.

Kentucky went on to win the game 66-58, but no one will remember the final score. They’ll remember Reid’s injury, and if it’s severe, how poorly the Cats played after it. Naturally, part of it was the players adjusting to Reid being out, but they let Mizzou push them around under the basket and on the boards. The Tigers ended up winning the rebounding battle 34-28, 16-6 on the offensive boards. Twelve of Missouri’s offensive rebounds came after Reid exited the game, which would normally send Calipari on a lengthy postgame rant; instead, Cal shouldered part of the blame, admitting that once Reid got hurt, he just wanted to get out of the gym, which led to his team taking possessions down to the shot clock and playing more tentatively than usual. Should Reid be out for an extended amount of time, you have to think they’ll play better than that.

It feels like nothing really matters other than Reid’s knee right now, but let’s roll through some quick hitters about the rest of the game before shutting the book on an ugly night in Columbia.

PJ Washington and Tyler Herro played well

PJ Washington’s streak of 20-point games ended tonight, but he turned in another impressive performance, finishing with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block in 37 minutes. Fifteen of PJ’s 18 points came in the first half, and there was a stretch before halftime in which it felt like he couldn’t be stopped. PJ’s earned a lot of accolades this week, including Oscar Robertson Player of the Week, so it was good to see him follow it up with another solid night, despite some cramping issues at the very end (did I mention how ugly this game was?).

Tyler Herro also had 18 points, the most he’s scored since the Florida game in Gainesville on February 2. Herro always seems to play better on the road, and tonight, his most impressive work came at the line, where he was a perfect 8-8. In SEC play, Tyler has only missed one free throw, vs. Tennessee on Saturday, an incredible mark that deserves recognition.

Speaking of free throws…

…Kentucky going 19-22 (86 percent) from the charity stripe sure is a silver lining on a stormy night. According to Corey Price, that’s the Cats’ third best free-throw shooting performance in the Calipari era, and their best since the 2015 season. With Mizzou attempting to make it a game in the last five minutes, Kentucky went 10-10 from the free throw line, a promising sign as we get closer to March.

Second half Ashton > First half Ashton

Ashton Hagans did not play well in the first half, not scoring and turning the ball over three times to only one assist. In the second half, he was able to shoot his way out of a funk, scoring 12 points, including three of four threes. Whoulda thunk it? Tellingly, Calipari let Ashton play through his struggles over subbing in Immanuel Quickley, and it worked. Hopefully that confidence will carry over to Saturday, because Ashton will need it vs. Auburn’s guards.

Kentucky can’t leave Columbia tonight

There are few things John Calipari hates more than staying in an opposing team’s town the night after a game, but bad weather will keep the Cats in Columbia tonight. After grumbling about it, Cal said he hopes the team can fly back to Lexington tomorrow.

What is this team without Reid?

I really hope we don’t have to find out, but the question looms on the horizon like the winter storm that’s keeping the Cats in CoMo. The obvious answer is EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards have to step up. Richards had a promising first half, with seven points off 3-3 from the floor and four rebounds, and even started the second half, but quickly got taken out after a mistake. EJ played significantly more minutes in the second half and looked okay, but let Missouri’s bigs push him out of position.

PJ Washington’s play will also be affected. Part of his success in recent weeks is thanks to Reid, who has born the brunt of guarding guys like Grant Williams and clearing out space for PJ under the basket. How will PJ cope if Reid has to be out for a while? I keep coming back to something Kenny Payne said yesterday.

“It doesn’t always show up in the stats, what he means to this program, but I can only say this to you guys: I can’t imagine Reid Travis not on this team.

Me neither. Be okay, Reid’s knee.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

14 Comments for Kentucky won, but all anyone cares about is Reid Travis’ knee

  1. unbridled
    12:53 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    I’m optimistic he is going to be fine. Don’t know why. Just have a feeling.

    • JLP
      12:56 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Is Keldon Johnson still a first round pick?

    • mashburnfan1
      1:53 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      unbridled…hope your feeling is correct.
      JLP….yes and possibly a lottery pick, the draft is largely based on a players potential.

    • Rixter
      8:09 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Potential… I’m just not seeing that much potential from keldon, maybe they’re basing it on his play in high school. Tyler Herro, over the course of this long season, is the better player, and it’s not particularly close.

  2. bbncricket
    1:02 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Your title says it all!! Please be ok big guy. You are one of a kind!!

  3. Luether
    2:03 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Nice summary post, Mrs TT. Gotta hope and pray that Reid is OK…

  4. Kerosenerag
    7:18 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Prayers to Reid for a speedy recovery!

  5. RealCatsFan
    7:31 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    No matter what happens with Reid’s knee, over the next few games SNR needs to grow up and become BBNR (Big Boy Nick Richards).

  6. Underdog
    8:52 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Expected Duration

    How long a knee sprain lasts depends on the type of knee sprain, the severity of your injury, your rehabilitation program and the types of sports you play. In general, milder Grade I and Grade II MCL or LCL sprains heal within 2 to 4 weeks, but other types of knee sprains may take 4 to 12 months.

  7. Larkin123
    8:54 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    The backup at the 5 and 4 are in bad defensive position or bad rebounding position every other time down the floor. If he’s gone for the season, you are kidding yourself. Richards has improved 5% and almost two seasons in position basketball. I would also say our physical nature was kind of anchored by Travis.

  8. Aar
    9:10 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    All thoughts and best wishes to Reid Travis. I hope the diagnosis is as mild as possible and he’s back playing again soon but only after fully healed. That hit looked like one of “those” hits that could result in anything from “meh, really nothing” to an ACL tear with collateral damage (pun intended but not humorously). Again, I hope the damage is minor, that he heals well and is back on court again. This team needs his play and his superlative leadership in order to maximize their potential.

    Speaking of maximizing potential, Richards and Montgomery need minutes in order to integrate with the team. Not just “here’s some time for you to go get better” minutes but true “the team needs you. So guard, screen, pass and score without fouling” minutes. The bright spot of any unfortunate Reid Travis down time could be in Richards and Montgomery putting more of their potential into realization. I’m not so sanguine about needing them to realize their potential against Auburn or, even Tennessee but, if necessary, it would be better than in March or April. I’ll be wishing for the best for all three of those UK bigs. Go UK, beat Auburn!

  9. UKFootballYall
    9:15 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Hopefully the injury won’t last nearly as long as the one to Jared Vanderbilt, which has seemingly dragged on for years at this point. Be well Reid.

    • JDizzle14
      9:36 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yea, the “injury” to Jared Vanderbilt–LOL. Thats what the coaches called whatever was the real issue that they were chomping at the bit to keep quiet.