If you thought things couldn't get any worse for the SEC's worst offense, Kentucky will be without one of its brightest young offensive players for the rest of the year.
Wildcats coach Joker Phillips announced after Tuesday's practice that freshman running back Josh Clemons will miss the rest of the season due to a torn meniscus in his knee.
“On Saturday, we recognized that Josh was a little gimpy and he was trying to go,” Phillips said. “On Sunday, he came in for a routine injury report and we got an MRI done yesterday and he had surgery [Tuesday] morning on his knee and is out for the rest of the season.”
Despite Kentucky's offensive woes this season, Clemons was a bright spot and became one of the Wildcats' best players after he replaced Raymond Sanders, who missed three games with his own knee injury. Phillips praised Clemons for being one of the more talented players on the roster, regardless of position. Clemson led Kentucky in rushing with 65 carries for 279 yards and two touchdowns (Kentucky has three total rushing touchdowns). Both of his scores this season turned out to be game-winning plays.
Kentucky will now have to ride Sanders, who the staff hopes is all better after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a slight cartilage tear in his right knee, and inexperienced backs Jonathan George and CoShik Williams.
Against South Carolina, George netted six yards on four carries, while Williams has 17 carries for 62 yards on the year.
This is a tough blow for a Wildcats team with no offensive momentum. Getting Sanders back to 100 percent is going to be key during Kentucky's second-half push, but developing the other two backs will go a long way as well in case Sanders doesn't fully regain his football legs.
Fortunately for Kentucky, this is its bye week, so Phillips and his offensive coaches will have more time to prep these guys for their next game against Jacksonville State on Oct. 22.
“That’s football,” Phillips said. “We understand the game and injuries happen. We feel for Josh and feel for the other guys also because he is a special player to the guys on this team. We have to get the other guys better now. They have had some reps because of Raymond [Sanders'] absence and they should have some experience."