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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Injuries Can Go One of Two Ways

Image result for nerlens noel kentucky

We don’t know the extent of Reid Travis’ injury yet and certainly it is possible it is minor and he will be back on the floor in no time as UK makes a run for the Final Four.  But in this time of uncertainty it is hard not to remember some of the other key injuries that have struck the Cats over the years.  As a younger UK fan, I don’t remember the Sam Bowie injury or any other key injuries in the 1980’s or sooner.  My mind immediately came up with 4 times an injury had a serious impact on a UK season in the last 25 years.

And interestingly enough, sometimes you can actually take a positive away from injury.  I think a decent argument can be made the first injury below played a positive impact in UK winning the 1998 national championship.  Hopefully Travis is just fine and this will all just be a trip down memory lane for naught, but in the meantime look back on some key losses and which ones you think might have had the biggest impact:

1997: Derek Anderson Blows out Knee

-Anderson, a potential All-American candidate, tore the ACL in his knee on January 18th against Auburn.  At the time, Kentucky was 16-2 and ranked 5th in the country.  The injury could have, in theory, cost the Cats a national title that season.  But the reality is Anderson going down had a positive effect on three players: Allen Edwards, Cameron Mills, and Ron Mercer.  Nobody saw a jump in minutes after the Anderson injury than Edwards.  He went from around a 20-minute a night player to closer to 30.  He was forced to take on a serious role with the team and stepped up in a big way.  And you could argue it help lead to what we saw from Edwards the next season, when he was a key cog in a national title.  Mills barely saw the floor before the Anderson injury.  But the opening in minutes allowed him to get a sniff of 6-10 minutes a game and prove he deserved those minutes.  Mills went on to hit big shots for the 2 years.  And Mercer was already a star but he was forced to become an All-American from that point forward.  Mercer took the reigns of that team and nearly led them to a title.

2003: Keith Bogans Sprains Ankle in Sweet 16

-Tough to say but Bogans was clearly limited in the Elite 8 game against Marquette.  Would it had made a difference against a red hot Marquette team?  Hard to say.  But when your All-American is playing at maybe 50%, there has to be some kind of impact.  The UK defense, anchored by Bogans and the best in the country, was sliced and diced by the Eagles and saw a premature end to the UK season.

2013: Nerlens Noel Blows Out Knee

-Noel hurt his knee at Florida on February 12th.  The Cats were 17-6, ranked 25th in the country, and comfortably in the tournament.  In fact, UK went into that game on a 5-game winning streak.  The injury completely decimated that team.  From that point on UK went 4-6, missed the tournament, and experienced a couple of the most embarrassing losses in the Calipari era.  The hope was Willie Cauley-Stein would step up but WCS just wasn’t ready for that role.  In fact, nobody was able to fill the void.  Archie Goodwin tried but wasn’t up to the task.

2015: Alex Poythress Blows Out Knee

-Poythress was hurt during practice on December 11th with the Cats rolling as the #1 team in the country.  While the impact of the injury was not immediately obvious because that team was so stacked with talent, it came back to bite UK at the worst possible time.  Poythress was UK’s best perimeter defender and in the Final Four he would have been a perfect matchup with Sam Dekker.  Without him, Dekker proved to be the difference in the game.  So sometimes the injury doesn’t show its true impact until weeks or months later.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

39 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Injuries Can Go One of Two Ways

  1. StuckinLville
    10:17 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    U forget WCS

    • RealCatsFan
      10:17 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yep, you beat me to it! 🙂 We went to the finals with out Willie out.

    • RAGE
      11:43 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Exactly what I was thinking… I honestly think that injury hurt us more in the finals against UCONN than we will ever know… You put WCS on the floor that night and it puts a 7 foot shot blocker on the floor for those two quick guards to have to shoot over at the rim… Without WCS we didn’t have a true run protector on that team… We may have cut the nets down that year and in my opinion we probably do… UCONN wasn’t very big and it would have been a tough matchup for them to deal with

  2. IndianaSucks
    10:20 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Some of the articles on KSR are laughable… of course an injury can be either serious or not.

    • Mod bot didn’t like my comment. Here it is again…hopefully:
      Yeah, kind of a “C-a-p-t-a-i-n O-b-v-i-o-u-s” heading. Haha.
      Mod bot doesn’t like the “CO” phrase because it’s the 2nd time it’s done that to me in the last 2 or 3 weeks for using that phrase. The first time I was responding to Luether. lol

  3. RealCatsFan
    10:23 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    I think the Bogans injury was probably the biggest of the ones mentioned, because it happened during the tourney, and was a key injury to one of our best players. UK was the hottest team in the country up to that point, and on a roll. The Wisconsin game was just about as ugly as the Mizzou game last night. More like football than basketball.

    Close second was the Poythress injury – our defense took a permanent step back after that happened. He would have been instrumental in the Wisconsin game.

    • eyebleedblue
      10:46 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Derek Anderson was the biggest. He plays 5 minutes in the championship game and we have 9 championships.
      Rodney Dent in 94 when we had 4 point lead in OT and Mash fouled out. Dale Brown also injured in the game. At least a runner up with either.
      Bogans next. Best team, played 4 on 5 versus Wade.
      Injuries have hurt us more than any other program I am aware of, due to what it has cost us.

    • RealCatsFan
      11:39 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      9 championships and a trifecta to boot.

  4. FroggyFrog
    10:27 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    The 1997 Derek Anderson injury, in my opinion, unquestionably had the largest impact on a season because had he been healthy, I do not believe Arizona walks away with the title. Even with Miles Simon, Jason Terry, AND Mike Bobby, we still took Arizona into overtime., had Derek Anderson and his 17.7 pts per game been on the floor, we would have won the championship game.

    • BTownUKFan
      10:39 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      1997: Thunder and Lightning were unstoppable before Anderson went down. Mercer was worn out in the second half of the championship game. Having Anderson for 10 minutes in the semi and in the final would have been enough to put us over the top. Pitino wouldn’t play him.
      2015: No doubt having Poythress would have made a difference in the Wisconsin game. I love Booker but he could not defend Decker and he wasn’t hitting shots so it definitely hurt. Guys will have to step up and make the best of it !
      GO CATS !!

    • rockatao
      12:59 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Let’s not forget that Edwards was also hurt during 1997 tournament time. For the eight games, from the SEC tournament through the NCAA finals, he basically missed five of them and played an average of 16 min in the other three.

  5. Trueblue44
    10:29 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Rodney Dent in 92-93-94? Roughly that timeline but I remember that hurting us as well, kid was playing well when he went down with a knee

    • I had forgotten about that one until the caller just talked about it a few minutes ago.

      I think RG, in the Show Thread, once mentioned that Mike Pratt got injured one year when we could have won it all. A broken leg I think.

    • JDizzle14
      11:18 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Mike Casey in a motorcycle accident

    • Kat4Life
      11:55 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      I remember that one….Not many of us do

    • runningunnin.454
      12:06 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah, Chris; I was talking about Mike Casey.

    • runningunnin.454
      12:11 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      But I think Casey was driving a new Camaro when a tire blew out, and tore up his leg. That year, we lost to Artis Gilmore and Jacksonville.

  6. Melvit
    10:40 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Dale Brown in the ’93 Final Four game against Michigan. Cost us the Championship.

    • YES! I usually mention that one but forgot this time. Mash fouling out didn’t help either, plus Travis Ford just could not get open. Dale getting hurt was huge though.

    • catsarerunnin
      12:58 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      I totally forgot that one. That was a devastating loss and just a year after the dUKe loss which was the mother of all losses.

  7. az1006
    10:44 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Everyone goes back to the DA injury as the most significant, but it isn’t for me. That team still made the finals without him (and should have won it without him), so the impact isn’t as significant as the Bogans injury, IMO. That 2003 team was a great team all around, but they lacked true star power. Bogans was the closest thing to a superstar on that team, and his defensive play, leadership, and experience were critical pieces to that team’s puzzle. They had been rolling to the tune of 26 straight wins when he went down, and I think the mental blow the team had to endure (plus an other-worldy performance by D Wade and a terrible charge call on Antwain Barbour in the 2nd half) was too much to overcome in a game of that magnitude. That ’03 was the best in the country, and AT LEAST

    • az1006
      10:45 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      makes the Final Four if Bogans is healthy. Maybe they even win the whole thing.

    • FroggyFrog
      11:19 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Valid points but I don’t believe that team would have won the title. We struggled against long athletic wings all year (Ager, Anderson, Garcia, Gaines, Wade). I have a hard time believing we could have done much with Carmelo Anthony

  8. JDizzle14
    10:47 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Without a doubt, DA’s injury tops this list……

  9. ukcamel
    10:49 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Julius Randle was so obviously limited in the national championship game. He had zero lift and looked gimpy. But he never tried to make any excuses.

  10. meeksfor3
    10:55 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Coach K has hired a voodoo mama juju from New Orleans to poke pins in voodoo dolls to injure players. I know it works because I saw it on an episode of Gilligans Island once.

  11. bigbluenationmbb
    11:02 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Watching the Noel injury life is something I still remember. Him on the ground screaming is something I will never forget as that team could have gone decently far in the tourney

    • rockatao
      1:02 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Can’t agree with this comment. That team was terrible with or without Nerlens.

    • mashburnfan1
      2:44 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Yea, to say they were comfortably in as of Feb 12 is stupid. That team would have been lucky to make the tourney with Noel and IF they did were gone 1st weekend. At least it would have spared us the worst loss in history, losing to Bobby Morris. Should have been able to beat a team like that with mostly back up players, can’t say losing 1 guy is the reason and there are no excuses for it. That was a bad time as a UK fan, took a lot from opposing fans and could not respond as they were right.

  12. kyinsider
    11:28 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    He was able to still play a little bit and walk off the court on his own power. I pray it’s not too serious and won’t keep him out for the Tennessee game in Knoxville. Former NFL doctor and UK fan thinks it’s an MCL sprain and would be out til SEC tournament. We need his basketball IQ and toughness. Not going to a final four without him

    • catsarerunnin
      11:39 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Shouldn’t you post your opinions on your very own website?

  13. suppie
    11:29 am February 20, 2019 Permalink

    he’s right ~95% of the time.

    “Appears to sprain right knee MCL. Absence measured in weeks. Can hope for SEC tourney but no guarantee. Depends on severity.”

    • ClutchCargo
      3:25 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Hard to believe a practicing orthopedic surgeon would be throwing around stuff like that on social media when he only saw it on TV like the rest of us. It might be an educated guess, but it’s still a guess.

  14. dballrb
    12:18 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Just read the article, I also thought off Willie..No doubt in my mind we win the natty with Willie on the floor.
    Same with Bogans.
    With Bowie,you could hear the bone snap..I’ll never forget that one.
    Nerlens, we certainly would’ve gone dancing, but FF would of been a lofty goal with Noel because Archie G drove 1 on 5 everytime he touched the ball and shot bricks or charged 3 guys at once..

  15. Clyde X
    1:06 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

    It’s a toss-up between Bogans and Anderson. You can never predict what might have happened but, UK was the best team in the country by a wide margin with Anderson and again with Bogans. So, I would like our chances to get Nine and Ten with those players at 100%.

    • mashburnfan1
      2:47 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

      Thank you Clyde, another person with common sense. You can’t predict what would have happened in any of these cases. Would some not happening have increased our odds, yes. But the final outcome is never something we will know would have happened. Love how you made your comment and yes I “like our chances” much more in both cases as well but anything could have happened as well.

  16. Willis Wolf Tattoo
    1:31 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

    Jarred Vanderbilt would have been nice against Kansas State………

  17. JASUN74
    4:02 pm February 20, 2019 Permalink

    There’s really only one correct answer here!! It’s when the NCAA broke both of Enes Kanters legs in 2011 and caused him to miss the entire season. We still, with the heart of a Wildcat and determination of a Grisly bear protecting her cub, made it all the way to the Final Four!! With Enes that year they win the Championship and are thought of as one of the greatest teams in UK history. Man that would’ve been fun to see him with that team. Hell he made them better by just practicing with them. Lol. Anyway, I know it’s not an injury but the powers that be sure hurt us !! Thanks.