Kentucky was able to get through the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and into the Sweet 16 without PJ Washington. It’s unclear if the Wildcats will have to try to get out of the second weekend and into the Final Four without him as well.
Washington, who has been sidelined with a foot injury, is questionable for the No. 2 Wildcats’ game Friday against No. 3 Houston in Kansas City with an Elite Eight berth at stake.
“We don’t know if PJ is going to play this weekend yet,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said on his weekly radio show while adding that Washington will shed his cast Tuesday.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore played through the SEC tournament, but did not suit up for either of the Wildcats’ tournament games against Abilene Christian and Wofford. Fifth-year senior Reid Travis was instrumental in Kentucky’s second-round win against Wofford, going for 14 points and 11 rebounds, but without Washington the Wildcats will be devoid of the player that has become much of a focal point of the offense against a Houston team that opened the season 15-0.
For any fans concerned that Washington, Kentucky’s leading scorer and rebounder, might be exceedingly cautious in his return to preserve his NBA draft status – a borderline lottery pick – his father had some strong words Monday.
“Where were these same people when he played from January to March last year with a broken finger?” Paul Washington told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Where were these people saying he wasn’t tough? He laid his health on the line then.
” PJ will play when his body says he can play.”