UK Football

UK football team's injury list didn't get longer, for a change

jsmith3@herald-leader.comOctober 15, 2012 

  • Kentucky at Louisville

    When: Noon Saturday

    TV: ESPN2

    Records: Louisville 8-3 (5-3 ACC); Kentucky 5-6 (2-6 SEC)

    Series: Kentucky leads 14-12

    Line: Louisville by 12½

For the first time in many, many weeks, Kentucky Coach Joker Phillips' injury list didn't get any longer.

In fact, it might get even shorter by game time Saturday against No. 12 Georgia.

The coach listed UK's most veteran defender, Martavius Neloms, as day to day, along with fellow safety Ashely Lowery and cornerback Fred Tiller.

Players still on the "doubtful" list include cornerback Cartier Rice, safety Mike Benton and quarterback Patrick Towles.

After UK's poor showing against Arkansas last week — the Cats completed just four of 15 pass attempts for 104 yards, with 61 coming on a single pass — Towles would be a welcome arrival for a struggling offense.

The Mr. Football from Highlands is now able to get up on his toes, which Phillips said is "usually a good sign when you have a high ankle sprain.

"So we'll take a look at it, probably about Wednesday, see what he can do. He moved around a little bit, not great today. But we'll take a look at it tomorrow and Wednesday, also."

When asked if there was a chance Towles could return as early as this week to face the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) or Missouri next week, Phillips seemed uncertain.

"All I'm getting is information from (trainer) Jim Madaleno," Phillips said. "I don't know either way. Just said he can get up on his toes. We'll take a look at it tomorrow and see if he's improved any from today."

In Towles' one appearance this season against Mississippi State on Oct. 6, he completed five of his six pass attempts for 71 yards, including going a perfect 5-for-5 and leading UK down the field to a 32-yard touchdown pass to La'Rod King.

Getting Neloms, Lowery and Benton back would be a boon for UK as well, especially against a Georgia offense ranked 11th in the nation in scoring, averaging 41.3 points a game. The Bulldogs are second in the conference in total offense, averaging 484 yards a game with 32 touchdowns.

Quarterback Aaron Murray has had a big season for Georgia, throwing for 12 touchdowns and averaging 247.8 yards a game.

Neloms, who has an injured hamstring, is one of UK's most versatile defenders, playing both safety and cornerback this season. Despite missing the last game, he is fourth on the team in tackles with 40, including one for a loss. He also has one of the Cats' two interceptions this season.

Phillips said the senior will be allowed to run on Wednesday. Lowery, who is dealing with concussion-like symptoms, is expected to see a doctor again Tuesday. Lowery has 25 tackles on the season.

Benton, who has a high ankle sprain, is the least likely of the defenders to return this week.

Getting some veterans and some depth back for UK (1-6, 0-4) would be a big help, one defender said. But he added that the four freshmen who saw extensive action in the secondary against Arkansas got some "good game experience."

Linebacker Avery Williamson said getting torched for five touchdowns by Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson wasn't going to hurt the young Cats' confidence.

"They're all still getting used to game speed," he said. "I feel like game reps should at least give them some confidence that they can go out there and compete. If they have to play in the Georgia game, I feel like they'll be a lot more prepared."


Three BCS computer rankings have Kentucky with the nation's toughest schedule. The Cats' schedule is the most difficult according to Anderson and Hester, Colley Matrix and Massey ratings. The Sagarin Ratings have UK at No. 5 in strength of schedule.

■ The Kentucky-Georgia matchup on Saturday will be shown at 7 p.m. on FS South.

■ Kentucky's game at Missouri on Oct. 27 has been set for noon and will be shown on ESPNU.

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog:

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