Kentucky freshman Terrence Clarke is expected to miss the remainder of the season because of an ailing ankle that has kept him off the court for well over a month, Wildcats coach John Calipari revealed Monday night during his weekly radio show. Clarke last played on Dec. 26 against Louisville in 16 unproductive minutes in which he logged no other statistics but a foul as he gutted through the injury he'd suffered a week prior against North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic.
"You know, Terrence wants to play so bad. We want him to play. I want him to play. I want to coach him and get him on that court," Calipari said via Kentucky Sports Radio. "There were tears today -- his and mine. It looks as though they want him out four weeks. Maybe something can happen sooner, but they don't believe so. It's crushing to these kids."
Missing four weeks for Clarke would make his return around March 8, which would be during the postseason. For Kentucky (5-12, 4-6 SEC), that almost certainly will not include the NCAA Tournament. So a nagging ankle injury that's hampered him for weeks on end effectively ends Clarke's season before he could even compete in a conference game.
"We don't have our best player playing, we haven't for a while," Calipari said of Clarke. "He's obviously been hurting for a long time before he stepped off the court where it was like, "This ain't gonna work."
Clarke was one of two five-star signees in Kentucky's No. 1-ranked 2020 recruiting class and the second-highest ranked behind only BJ Boston. A top-10 talent, he entered the season as a projected first-rounder, but the combination of a slow start with an injury that tripped him up for good has tanked his stock for 2021. It's possible he declares for the draft and teams bet on his talent, but another year in college could be a viable path to reproving his draft credentials for 2022.
"As far as when we'll see him again, you know, that's between God and the medical staff," said Calipari. "I'm just praying that he has a speedy recovery, but also, I don't want him to be rushed back where he could possibly injure himself more. I want him to get healthy, fully recover, and play when the time is right for him."