LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball forward Reid Travis is expected to miss at least two weeks after spraining his right knee during the Missouri game on Tuesday night in Columbia, Missouri. An MRI conducted after the team returned to Lexington late Wednesday afternoon confirmed the sprain.
No other damage to the knee was detected.
“I just feel so good that it was more of a sprain than anything else because you just get worried about that stuff when you see someone go down,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “We are going to be very conservative with this so he may be out a couple weeks. We hope he will be ready for around the conference tournament or maybe even a little bit before, but I’m happy for Reid that we’re going to get him back.”
Travis sprained his knee midway through Tuesday’s second half vs. Missouri when a teammate attempting to rebound a ball inadvertently fell into Travis’ right knee. Travis stayed in the game for two possessions before walking gingerly under his own power off the court and into the locker room.
The graduate transfer from Stanford has been one of the key components to Kentucky’s 22-4 start, which includes a 5-2 record vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams and has positioned the Wildcats for a potential top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Travis is averaging 11.3 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Wildcats while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor and 73.0 percent at the free-throw line. He’s started 23 of 26 games, scored in double figures in 14 of them, and posted four games with 20 or more points. He’s also recorded two double-doubles.
Travis transferred to Kentucky after graduating from Stanford last season. He was a two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection in his final two seasons at Stanford and ranked third in the Pac-12 last season in both scoring (19.5 points per game) and rebounding (8.7 rebounds per game).
He's one of three Stanford players in program history to record at least 1,400 points and 700 rebounds in less than 100 games played.
At Kentucky, Travis has brought the Wildcats experience, physicality and leadership. Still more than capable of posting a double-double on a regular basis, Travis has expanded his game at UK, including on the defensive end.
After recording 21 blocks in just a little more than three seasons at Stanford, he’s recorded 20 in just 26 games at Kentucky. His physicality in the paint has helped transform Kentucky into one of the top defensive teams in the country over the last 13 games.
Calipari called Travis, a Senior CLASS Award candidate, the “difference maker” in the win over then-No. 1 Tennessee last weekend.
In Travis’ absence, sophomore Nick Richards and freshman EJ Montgomery are expected to take on increased roles alongside Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week PJ Washington, who leads the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding and is averaging 20.7 points and 8.1 rebounds over his last nine games.
Richards has appeared in 63 games over his two seasons in Lexington and made 39 starts. He’s averaging 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game and leads the Wildcats with 67 blocks over the last two seasons. He’s shown flashes of his potential this season, including a 14-point, four-block game at Vanderbilt and seven points in the first half on Tuesday vs. Missouri.
Montgomery has seen an increase in playing time over the last month as an all-around contributor. The freshman from Fort Pierce, Florida, is averaging 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. He’s blocked 25 shots and posted his first double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds) just a couple weeks ago vs. South Carolina.
“Because we coach every player like they’re starters, I think EJ and Nick are going to be fine,” Calipari said on his radio show Wednesday night. “This is their opportunity. I have great confidence in those two.”
As to what the coaching staff will tell Richards and Montgomery in Travis’ brief absence, associate head coach Kenny Payne said: “You don’t have to be Reid. You just have to know that your contribution to this team starts and ends with defending and rebounding. If you do those two things, you’re going to help us. And if you can do those two things for extended minutes, you’re really going to help us.”