Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein missed the final three games of the NCAA tournament with an ankle injury. Until Tuesday afternoon, there wasn’t much else to know about the injury, other than a photo he posted 10 weeks after surgery, images of him riding around campus on a scooter and that he wouldn’t play in Kentucky’s trip in August.
On the Joe B and Denny Show on AM-790 KRD, Joe B. Hall mentioned he had recently talked to Cauley-Stein, who gave an update on his injury. This portion of the show was transcribed by Kyle Tucker, the Kentucky beat writer for the Courier Journal:
Speaking on the radio show he shares with former Louisville coach Denny Crum on AM-790 in Louisville, Hall said he’d recently asked Cauley-Stein at a UK practice about the extent of his injury. The junior big man told Hall he’d had a metal plate and three screws inserted to stabilize his ankle.
A UK spokesman could not confirm Hall’s account of Cauley-Stein’s procedure or elaborate in any way.
According to Hall, that might have been the reason the 7-footer decided to return instead of declaring for the NBA Draft, where he likely would have been a lottery pick. When Cauley-Stein announced he returned, he told Calipari that he enjoyed college too much, didn’t think he was ready for the NBA and wanted to win a national championship. The Wildcats enter next season as the nation’s top team.
Cauley-Stein averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game as a sophomore. He is again projected as a lottery pick for the NBA Draft by DraftExpress.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.