Vanderbilt expected to miss three months with foot injury

Kentucky will be without one of its star freshmen for the first half of the 2017-18 season.

The school announced Saturday that forward Jarred Vanderbilt injured his left foot during a team skill instruction session Friday. Vanderbilt plans to have surgery and is expected to miss the next three months and return in January.

“I just want to let the Big Blue Nation know I’m going to be fine and looking forward to coming back better than ever,” Vanderbilt said. “I’ve had some setbacks before and I’ve come back from all of them. After talking with my doctor and my family, I feel good about the plan they have in place for me. I’m anxious to get this right and return to my team so I can put this behind me for good. I can’t wait to get back to my brothers and help us compete for a national championship this season.”

Kentucky freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt injured his left foot Friday and is expected to miss three months. (photo by Quinn Foster, UK Athletics)

A consensus five-star, top-20 ranked prospect coming out of Victory Prep Academy in Houston, Vanderbilt is regarded as one of the most athletic and versatile players on a team full of them. He showed off that versatility in high school, filling up box scores on a regular basis with 28.5 points, 13.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game.

“Jarred has been unbelievable since he stepped on campus,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He’s improved tremendously the last four months. Unfortunately, we learned late last night that he’s going to miss some time to get his foot healthy. I’m disappointed for Jarred, but only because I know how badly he wanted to get this season started. I’m OK because I know this is what’s best for him.

“As I told Jarred, my concern for him is getting this thing right and getting him healthy for the rest of his career. We’ll miss him on the court, but I want what’s best for him and his family, and right now that’s taking care of this injury and making sure he doesn’t have to worry about it again. With the motor and worth ethic I’ve seen from him, I have no doubt he’s going to be better than ever when he returns and will provide us with a huge lift in conference play. Now it’s up to his teammates to hold the fort down until he gets back.”

The 6-foot-9 forward played in each of the three major high school all-star games, including the McDonald’s All American Game, the Nike Hoop Summit and the Jordan Brand Classic. Playing against some of the best young talent around the world, Vanderbilt had a double-double at the Nike Hoop Summit, going for 19 points and 10 rebounds. He then followed that up with 17 points and seven rebounds at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn, New York.