HOOVER, Ala. — Just months after saying he finally felt 100 percent healthy after a knee injury sidelined him for a season, Josh Clemons was dealt another blow.
Kentucky's sophomore running back will miss this season after tearing his Achilles' tendon in workouts on Friday. An MRI showed what trainers suspected, and UK officials confirmed the injury through a release on Monday afternoon.
"We are extremely disappointed for Josh because he has worked so hard and come so far," Coach Mark Stoops said in the release. "He ran well during the spring and was eager to contribute this season."
Clemons will have surgery soon to fix the torn tendon.
"We are hopeful for a full recovery and look forward to his return to the field," Stoops continued.
The running back missed all of last season while recovering from a surgically repaired meniscus from the 2011 season, when he was UK's leading rusher as a freshman before the injury at South Carolina.
He showed much promise before the injury, including an 87-yard touchdown run against Central Michigan, the longest ever in Commonwealth Stadium history.
Clemons worked out with the team in fall camp last August, but he struggled with knee swelling, which limited what he was able to do.
In March, Clemons said he felt like he was returning to his freshman form.
"I'm feeling good," Clemons told the Herald-Leader in March. "This is the best I've felt in a long time; I'm not going to lie to you."
In closed scrimmages during the spring, he had become a threat in offensive coordinator Neal Brown's new scheme, including catching several touchdown passes and running for another. In the Blue-White spring game, he rushed 10 times for 56 yards and caught two passes.
The Kentucky run game has suffered several setbacks this off-season, including the transfer of never-used Justin Taylor and the recent dismissal of incoming freshman Khalid Thomas.
But the Cats do return several key veterans at that spot, including seniors Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders as well as sophomore Dyshawn Mobley. Highly touted freshman Jojo Kemp also is expected to make an impact.
Stoops likely will address the injury later this week when he attends his first-ever Southeastern Conference Media Days. Kentucky's session is Wednesday morning at the Wynfrey Hotel.
Williamson on watch list
Senior linebacker Avery Williamson was named to the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List, which honors the nation's top linebacker, on Monday.
Williamson, who was second in the SEC and seventh in the nation in tackles last season, was one of 51 players named to the list. Williamson had 135 total tackles last season, including 4.5 for a loss.
The season-opening football game between the Kentucky and Western Kentucky was selected for live telecast and will be shown on ESPNews, the Sun Belt Conference has announced. The game will be played at 7 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 31 at LP Field in Nashville.
Herald-Leader Staff report
Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.