Little chance Willie Cauley-Stein will play Sunday

jtipton@herald-leader.comMarch 29, 2014 

Pregame update from Jerry Tipton: Willie Cauley-Stein wearing No. 15 jersey over sweats. He just rose and grabbed crutches to help move from bench.

INDIANAPOLIS — Sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein leads Kentucky with 106 blocks. UK's next five most prolific shot-blockers have combined for 99.

So Kentucky figures to miss Cauley-Stein if he's unable to play against Michigan on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region finals.

"He said he's doubtful," guard Andrew Harrison said. "He's definitely an X-factor on the team."

But, Harrison added, "Nothing we can do."

Named to the Southeastern Conference's All-Defensive Team this season, Cauley-Stein injured an ankle in the first half of UK's semifinal victory over Louisville on Friday night. He limped off the court with 13:05 left in the first half. He did not join his teammates in practice Saturday. Instead, he went to a local hospital to have the ankle examined.

"He's acting like he thinks he can do something," UK Coach John Calipari said before adding, "I would be stunned if he played in this game."

Calipari confirmed the injury was to an ankle, not an Achilles' tendon.

Freshman Marcus Lee, who has played one minute (against Louisville) in the NCAA Tournament, noted how Cauley-Stein was using crutches Friday night.

Said teammate Jon Hood: "Marcus Lee has got to step up. Really, this whole team has to step up."

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com.

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