It’s too soon to reassess Drew Barker and his back injury, but the Kentucky quarterback’s status will be week-to-week after the Cats’ game against Mississippi State, Coach Mark Stoops said during Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference coaches’ teleconference.
Barker, who has missed most of the last four games while battling a back problem, is undergoing treatment with UK doctors and trainers and has shown signs of improvement.
Kentucky is off this week but returns to action Oct. 22 against Mississippi State at Commonwealth Stadium. After that, the Cats will travel to Missouri, face Georgia at home and then travel to Tennessee.
“It’s a touch too early for that right now,” Stoops said of looking at evaluating Barker’s return.
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“He’s in there getting rehab so we’ll see how it goes in the next week or two. I think he is getting better but we have been cautious with him and hopefully we can continue to do that and hopefully he’ll feel stronger and stronger,” Stoops continued. “So, you know, it’s still, there hasn’t been anything that’s changed. Let’s put it that way. He’s still week to week. We have no plans of playing him in the Mississippi State game. After that we’ll evaluate him week to week.”
In Barker’s place, Stephen Johnson has led the Cats to a 3-1 record. The quarterback struggled in his last game against Vanderbilt, completing 10 of 24 passes for 49 yards with one interception. He did make some key plays with his feet, though.
Johnson has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 628 yards and three touchdowns this season
When he left the game against New Mexico State, Barker had connected on 50 percent of his passes for 334 yards and four scores.
In other injury news, Stoops said nose tackle Matt Elam is improving and should be ready to go against the Bulldogs next week.
“If he doesn’t have any setbacks it looks like that is going to happen,” Stoops said. “Or it has to this point. He’s progressing and getting better and better so we’ll see moving forward here in the next week and a half.”