PJ Washington injury update: Kentucky star in walking boot for 'precautionary reasons'

No. 7 Kentucky drew a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament, where its path to a title is every bit achievable. Advancing as far as the final night of the season could prove difficult depending upon the status of sophomore star PJ Washington, who The Athletic reported Tuesday has been in a walking boot since Sunday.

The boot, according to a Kentucky spokesman, is "for precautionary reasons." Precautionary or not, it signals Washington is at the very least dinged up. His status for the Wildcats' NCAA Tournament opener on Thursday against No. 15 seed Abilene Christian is unclear.

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Washington missing any time at all would be notable for Kentucky. He has emerged in his second season as the team's best scorer, rebounder and 3-point shooter, a rare but holy trinity of checkmarks to tick. Getting past Abilene Christian in the first round should not be a problem with or without him -- the Wildcats opened as 22-point favorites -- but things get dicey from there. No. 7 Wofford or No. 10 Seton Hall in the second round have the goods to pull an upset, and a Sweet 16 potential matchup with Houston or Iowa State would be challenging for UK if it is short-staffed.

We will know more soon about what Washington's status is for Thursday and whether he will miss meaningful time -- or any time at all. But Washington's mysterious injury, if serious, could prove to be a major factor in this year's national championship race.

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