LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky freshman Patrick Patterson will miss the rest of the season because of a stress fracture in his left ankle, the school announced Friday.
Patterson, a blue chip recruit out of West Virginia who leads all Southeastern Conference freshmen by averaging 16 points a game, had the injury confirmed Friday. He will be out approximately eight weeks and is wearing a cast on his foot, the school said.
UK basketball spokesman Scott Stricklin said no one event caused
the injury and that Patterson had been experiencing soreness in his foot, which is why he went to University of Kentucky Hospital for X-rays.
The injury is a huge blow for the Wildcats, who face No. 1 Tennessee on Sunday in a battle for first place in the SEC East.
Patterson, 6-foot-8, has taken the vast majority of Kentucky's shots in the paint. Without him, the Wildcats may have to rely more heavily on sophomore Perry Stevenson, freshman A.J. Stewart and seldom-used junior Jared Carter and freshman Mo Williams.
Kentucky (16-10, 10-3) has three games remaining before the SEC
tournament and may need multiple victories to sneak into the NCAA tournament.
Patterson led Huntington High to three straight West Virginia state championships, the last one alongside fellow phenom O.J. Mayo, who currently plays for Southern Cal.
The three-time SEC freshman of the week was just 54 points away
from breaking Rex Chapman's school record for a freshman with 464
The injury means Kentucky must finish the season without the two
huge recruits that new coach Billy Gillispie persuaded to join the Wildcats. Freshman guard Alex Legion left the team earlier this season.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)