LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's Patrick Patterson, the Southeastern Conference's top freshman scorer, will miss the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left ankle.
Patterson, a blue chip recruit out of West Virginia and the only freshman ranked among the SEC's top 10 scorers (16.4 points per game) and rebounders (7.7 per game), underwent an X-ray Friday morning at UK Hospital, at which point the injury was confirmed, the university announced.
Patterson is wearing a cast on his left foot and will be out approximately eight weeks, the school said in a statement.
The statement didn't indicate how Patterson got hurt, and a call to UK media relations wasn't immediately returned.
Kentucky (16-10) is 10-3 in the SEC East, and the division lead will be on the line when the Wildcats meet top-ranked Tennessee (25-3, 11-2) on Sunday in Knoxville.
The Wildcats also face must-win games ahead in their quest to make the NCAA Tournament. They have three games remaining before the SEC tournament and may need multiple victories to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.
One of Kentucky's strong suits this season is an ability to play well in and win close games. Since its 41-point loss at Vanderbilt, the Wildcats have beaten LSU by four points, Georgia by six, Arkansas by five and Ole Miss by four.
"All of our games have been desperate situations, except Vanderbilt, so they've come down to the last five minutes," Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. "They've been like tournament games, down to the last three or four possessions. That's helping with our confidence."
The 6-foot-8 Patterson has taken the vast majority of Kentucky's shots in the paint. Without him, the Wildcats may have to rely more heavily on sophomore forward Perry Stevenson and seldom-used junior Jared Carter and freshman Mo Williams.
Patterson led Huntington High to three straight West Virginia state championships, the last one alongside fellow phenom O.J. Mayo, who currently plays for USC.
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.