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The Immediate Impact of Rhyne Howard’s Injury

(Eddie Justice | UK Athletics)

(Eddie Justice | UK Athletics)

News broke earlier on Thursday that Kentucky women’s basketball star Rhyne Howard would sit out with a dislocated pinky finger. The No. 13 Wildcats face the Missouri Tigers later on Thursday night at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network and have a difficult stretch of games coming up in the next couple of weeks.

According to UK, Howard is expected to return in mid-February.

So what does this mean for Kentucky in tonight’s game? They’re in Columbia, MO to face the Tigers who are currently 5-15, who have a record that might be deceiving. You can check out the Missouri preview post from earlier by clicking here. But they also have a lot of early-season losses to bad teams, as well. Their resume isn’t exactly one of postseason potential. A loss would look bad for Kentucky with or without Howard. Mizzou’s chances to steal a win against a ranked opponent just got a lot higher.

The immediate impact obviously puts Kentucky in an awkward position tonight. Howard is the leading scorer in the SEC and third in the nation at 23.2 points per game. She accounts for a majority of the Wildcats offense and defense. Howard ranks in the 90th percentile among the nation in both steals and blocks per game. According to Her Hoop Stats, out of 3,308 possible Divison I players, Howard ranks 11th in total offensive usage at 35.3 percent. This essentially means there are only 10 other players in the country that control a team’s offense more often than Howard does. She is Kentucky’s offense and has been for most of the season.

Kentucky played on Monday – the night Howard injured her pinky – and have only had a few days to prepare for a game without their leading scorer, rebounder, and defender. Missouri might not be a strong team, but they aren’t playing the normal Kentucky.

As for the longterm impact, Kentucky has some important games coming up. After the game against Mizzou, they’ll host Florida (11-9) and Alabama (12-8) in Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 2 and 6, respectively. Those games will now be tighter contests than they would have been a few days ago. Following the ‘Bama game, the schedule heat up.

The ‘Cats will travel to Fayetteville on Feb. 9 and take on the No. 25 Arkansas (16-4), then host No. 9 Mississippi State (18-3) on Feb. 16, head to Oxford to face Ole Miss (7-13) on Feb. 20 before coming back to Lexington for a rematch agaisnt No. 1 South Carolina (19-1) on Feb. 23.

If we read alllll the way into what UK announced via social media, mid-February should be approximately the 14th. So Howard should be back between the Arkansas and Mississippi State game. In an ideal world, she would come back before the meeting against a ranked Razorbacks squad. Kentucky will definitely need her when they take on the Bulldogs.

Someone is going to have to step up in the coming games, especially scoring the ball. A couple of first-thought options are sophomore Blair Green, redshirt senior Sabrina Haines, and junior Chasity Patteson. All three have shown the ability to score in bunches and the team has never needed them more than they have right now. In the few instances this season where Kentucky has played without Howard, the offense hasn’t played up to expectations. They won’t have any choice for at least the next few games.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

11 Comments for The Immediate Impact of Rhyne Howard’s Injury



  1. ColoradoCatFan88
    7:14 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    Wow, if someone on the men’s team was sitting out that long for a dislocated pinky finger, I would definitely be upset. Can’t you just tape it to your ring finger and play through it? I played football and basketball while I was younger with broken fingers..



    • nocode96
      9:28 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

      Meh, Joel Embid May miss time with a broken left finger. Nicholas Batum missed a month with a broken finger on his left hand. Multiple men’s professional and college basketball players have missed significant time due to a broken or dislocated finger in their non shooting hand. Maybe don’t try and gatekeep people’s injuries? She is a star for us and is going to be playing professionally soon, no sense in possibly worsening the injury. You obviously are not getting it about to be getting paid to play football or basketball, so your heroic story of suffering through the pain as a kid is irrelevant here. Weird that you turn this into a sexist argument when even a half assed google search could’ve given you dozens upon dozens of men who have missed significant time with the exact same or similar injuries.



    • StillBP
      7:07 am January 31, 2020 Permalink

      no one would care if you’re upset. It’s not your hand, you don’t matter here.



  2. cadprofessor
    8:00 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    Broken finger



    • ColoradoCatFan88
      8:41 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

      Breaks are worse. But regardless, it’s her pinky. She could literally get it removed & be fine. Just tape it to her ring finger & move on. Sitting out 2-3 weeks seems so over dramatic & irrelevant



  3. JASUN74
    8:55 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    She’s in a big cast so it would be hard. I’m sure she wanted to though. Lol. She’s a bad girl and a fighter. One of the hardest players in basketball, Men or women’s game!!

    Anyway, these girls are looking good and it will only help the team when she comes back. I love this girls team as much as any that’s ever played here and they are soo fun to watch. I just hope she can make it back before Miss State. If we can win two out of the next three tough games, that’ll be a win! Great job tonight girls!!



  4. UK_fac_boi
    9:23 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    A small blessing maybe? Not a serious injury and will make someone else step up in her absence. They can beat anyone in the country right now except for a handful of teams. With some support, you could have a championship squad.



  5. ColoradoCatFan88
    10:26 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    You’re the biggest moron on this site. Always looking to belittle or berate someone for a comment. I would LOVE to meet & talk to you in person. Guarantee you would’ve be half the prick you are on here. You’re a tough guy at home on your computer or cell phone, but I can almost guarantee you’re a pansy in person. Do us both a favor & never respond to one of my comments again. Thanks in advance



    • ColoradoCatFan88
      10:27 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

      That was directed toward nocode FYI



  6. ColoradoCatFan88
    10:29 pm January 30, 2020 Permalink

    Oh and by the way, Embiid returned and played in that same game when he injured his finger. Steph Curry played through it, as well as Kobe Bryant, Russel Westbrook, & Jayson Tatum. Take your own advice & go google it clown.



    • StillBP
      7:10 am January 31, 2020 Permalink

      I guess it’s just us women are so much weaker than you guys. You guys can play with a broken pinky and we are too weak to do the same. But hey, we can squeeze a baby out of our body, I’d love to see how tough you guys were if you had to do that.