Kentucky star Julius Randle suffered from cramps in the team's rivalry game against Louisville. If he is out for an extended duration of time, the Wildcats could be in trouble.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman first reported the issue:
Julius Randle trying to loosen up his right knee. Now headed to tunnel.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 28, 2013
Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal provided more details about the injury, which occurred early in the second half of the close matchup:
Julius Randle back in the locker room after falling down and hurting himself. That's potentially huge.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) December 28, 2013
Although he returned to action a few minutes later, ESPN's Dana O'Neil points out that he was still having problems:
Randle came in and back out. Really looks like he's in pain.— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) December 28, 2013
ESPN.com had more detail:
Cramps limited Randle to four second-half minutes and 21 overall, but not without a huge attempt from Kentucky's medical staff to rehydrate him.
"Three bags of IV (fluid) and the doc was squeezing it in," Calipari joked, "because I was saying, get him back, squeeze it."
Before heading into the locker room, Randle led the team with 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field. He wouldn't score another bucket for the remainder of Kentucky's 73-66 win. Throughout the remainder of the game he would play, only to be taken out minutes later to be checked on. He ended up playing just 21 minutes.
Louisville coach Rick Pitno talked about Randle after the game via the voice of the Wildcats Tom Leach:
Coach Pitino just said Randle is greatest beneficiary of new rules b/c foul calls. Guessing Julius would disagree— Tom Leach (@tomleachKY) December 29, 2013
Coach Calipari didn't even realize Randle was out of the game according to Kyle Tucker The Courier-Journal:
Cal on team without Randle: "I didn’t even recognize he wasn’t there. I just coached the game."— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) December 29, 2013
The freshman has been a dominant force all season, leading the team with 18.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Heading into the game against Louisville, he was tied for fourth in the NCAA in rebounding.
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports points out how tough he is to defend:
Seven points early on for Julius Randle. Brutal to stop once he gets his momentum going.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) December 28, 2013
While Kentucky has plenty of 5-star talent on the roster, losing Randle could be devastating to the team's chances going forward. Aaron Harrison and James Young will have to pick up the missed scoring while Willie Cauley-Stein will attempt to be a bigger force in the low post.
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