UK Men's Basketball

Cast off, game on as PJ Washington returns to Kentucky practice

PJ Washington — a 6-7 forward who backed out of the NBA Draft pool last month — is a virtual shoo-in to hold a spot in UK’s starting lineup as a sophomore.
PJ Washington — a 6-7 forward who backed out of the NBA Draft pool last month — is a virtual shoo-in to hold a spot in UK’s starting lineup as a sophomore. aslitz@herald-leader.com

PJ Washington returned to practice Tuesday for the Kentucky men’s basketball team after more than a month recovering from injury.

“It’s great. Getting my wind back, getting out there with this group of guys, group of freshmen — just getting a feel for how their games are compared to mine,” Washington said of getting back on the court in a video posted by CoachCal.com

The 6-foot-7 forward, who chose to return to the Cats for his sophomore year after gauging his prospects for the NBA Draft, had a cast on his hand until last week after surgery to repair a torn tendon in the pinky finger of his left hand.

Washington said he’s been impressed with UK’s freshmen and has tried to help them learn what Coach John Calipari is looking for from them as he’s watched from the sidelines.

“They’re fighters. That’s what we need here,” Washington said. “At a school like this, they want us to win every game, so we’ve got to come out here and fight every day in practice, and that leads to the game.”

Kentucky will play four exhibition games in the Bahamas beginning Aug. 8. All games will be televised live on the SEC Network.

Kentucky forward PJ Washington withdrew his name from the NBA Draft to return for his sophomore season. The 6-foot-7 forward said it was a difficult decision.

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