Former Kentucky basketball player Joe Crawford tore a knee tendon Sunday while playing for a team in Israel. The ill-timed injury, which is expected to sideline him for four to six months, comes as interest from other teams, including some in the NBA, has grown, the player's agent said Tuesday.
"It's a setback," agent Aaron Mintz said. "But if there's anyone who has shown time and time again he'll get through this, it's Joe."
Crawford, a 6-foot-5 wing, came to UK as a McDonald's All-American and a two-time all-state player for Detroit's Renaissance High School.
During four seasons for Kentucky, Crawford overcame a hip pointer, a nagging bout of plantar fasciitis and a well-chronicled request to transfer to become one of the program's leading lights. He led UK in scoring as a senior (17.9 points per game in 2007-08) and finished his college career with 1,438 points.
Crawford, 25, had played professionally the past few seasons despite persistent back pain that ultimately required treatment in a hospital.
"He played this year with all his athleticism back," Mintz said, "and demonstrated how much better he can play now that he was healthy."
Crawford led Maccabi Rishon in scoring (19.3 ppg) this season. He also averaged 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
"He had tremendous interest both from NBA and high-level overseas teams," Mintz said. "I see great things ahead for Joe professionally in basketball. He'll get through this like he has everything else. He's an unbelievably tough-minded and goal-oriented guy."
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com