TV Time Out

Wildcats on the mend

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Certainly, it was a scary moment for UK players, coaches and fans, when guards Ramon Harris and Michael Porter collided during the first half of Wednesday's blowout win over Lamar. The two players banged heads during a loose ball scramble and had to be helped off the floor with injuries. Initially, it appeared Porter might be more seriously injured. The junior fell near midcourt with a severe cut above his left eye. Harris fell between the UK bench and the free throw lane. As team physicians attended to him, Harris was moving his legs and feet, in obvious pain. His teammates said Harris was crying out.

Certainly, it was a scary moment for UK players, coaches and fans, when guards Ramon Harris and Michael Porter collided during the first half of Wednesday's blowout win over Lamar.  The two players banged heads during a loose ball scramble and had to be helped off the floor with injuries.

Initially, it appeared Porter might be more seriously injured.  The junior fell near midcourt with a severe cut above his left eye.  Harris fell between the UK bench and the free throw lane.  As team physicians attended to him, Harris was moving his legs and feet, but in obvious pain.  His teammates said Harris was crying out.

While Porter was being treated for the gash above his eye, Harris lay on the hardwood, being fitted with a neck brace, while a stabilizing backboard was slid beneath him.  Harris' mother walked out of the seats in the end zone to be near her son.

Porter was helped to his feet and walked off the floor.  Medics lifted Harris onto a stretcher and the Alaska native was transported to UK Medical Center, where a battery of tests were performed to determine if there were any spinal injuries.

I, along with several other veterans, don't ever recall seeing a player being carried off the Rupp Arena floor on a stretcher. 

Porter needed 10 stitches to close the gaping cut above his eye.  He later reappeared on the UK bench, his jersey and warm up jacket still stained with blood.  Harris remained overnight in the hospital.

UK spokesperson DeWayne Peevy said Harris had movement in all his extremities.

On Thursday, Billy Gillispie said Harris was doing well and was hopeful the player would be discharged from the hospital.  "All the tests came back really well.  He's probably going to be released later this afternoon, if things continue as they have.  He still has tingling in his fingers and toes, but they're really pleased with how the tests came back."

Gillispie became emotional during his post game press conference, when asked about the two injured players.  He reiterated on Thursday that the bond with his team goes beyond a player-coach relationship.  "That's my family.  Those are my family members.  You're worried to death about them.  You just hope and pray everything's going to be okay and it appears it will be.  It was a very scary moment for all of us."

The coach wouldn't guess as to how long either player would be out.  "We'll have to do without these guys for a while."

Locke Update

The football Wildcats will learn their bowl fate this weekend, but will head to the post season without several key players, including running back Derrick Locke.  The sophomore from Hugo, Oklahoma suffered a season-ending knee injury on a kickoff return against Arkansas.

Nearly seven weeks later, Locke is still walking with crutches.  Word is that Locke's injury was so severe, he's worried it could be a career-threatening situation.  Locke suffered torn ligaments in his knee and apparently the meniscus has been slow to respond. 

Locke not only is an all-SEC caliber running back, he's a champion long jumper.  Even if he returns to the football field, no word on whether he'll be able to compete for the UK track team.

Rich Brooks and Co. will make their third straight bowl appearance at the end of the year.  The Wildcats will be without several playmakers, including Locke and Dicky Lyons, Jr.  Brooks said Randall Cobb is doubtful for the bowl, after undergoing surgery earlier this week to repair cartilage in his left knee.

Here's hoping the wounded Wildcats are back healthy, soon.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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