Ankle sprains take some time to show their severity, but as of Monday, Kentucky's coaches and trainers were optimistic about the injury Jalen Whitlow sustained in Saturday's loss to Alabama.
"It was better today than it was yesterday and that's a good sign," UK Coach Mark Stoops said on his weekly radio show. "I'd say there's a good chance he'll be out at least this next game."
The coach did not have his regular Monday news conference because the Cats are off this week before returning to play on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Mississippi State.
It usually takes 48 hours to get a good feel for the severity of an ankle sprain, Stoops said, so trainers will re-evaluate Whitlow's ankle on Tuesday and have a better idea of how long the sophomore from Prattville, Ala., will have to sit out.
"We're hopeful it's a simple ankle sprain and not a high ankle sprain," Stoops said. "We will know more about that tomorrow."
For now, the plan is to go with Maxwell Smith, who has played in five games this season and has thrown for 710 yards and five touchdowns, with sophomore Patrick Towles and true freshman Reese Phillips at the ready.
"We'll get both of them going and see what our best option is for a backup," Stoops said. "Right now it would be Patrick."
The plan this season has been to redshirt both Towles and Phillips.
Would the coach lift the redshirt on either player if needed?
"Not unless we truly believe Patrick would give us an opportunity to win that game and beyond for the rest of the season," Stoops said. "We're in this to win some games and Mississippi State is up next and we'll do whatever we have to do to give us our best opportunity to win the game."
Stoops said the injury report he received on Monday was the longest he'd seen as a coach.
But on his radio show, the coach did say that defensive end Alvin "Bud" Dupree is expected to return for the Mississippi State game after straining a pectoral muscle that kept him out versus Alabama.
■ Stoops expects senior linebacker Avery Williamson to play without the cast on his bruised wrist soon. The hand casts on true freshmen Jason Hatcher and Blake McClain will stay in place because they are playing with "significant breaks."
Kentucky at Mississippi St.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24
Records: UK 1-5 (0-3 SEC),Mississippi State 3-3 (0-2)
Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukfootball.bloginky.com.