UK Men's Basketball

PJ in, Okeke out of Sunday’s UK-Auburn finals in the Midwest Region

PJ Washington expects to play when Kentucky faces Auburn in the Midwest Region championship game Sunday.

More than once during Saturday’s interview session, Washington said he would play.

Meanwhile, Auburn will be without forward Chuma Okeke. Okeke tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Friday’s game against North Carolina, Coach Bruce Pearl said. Okeke is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.

Washington played 26 minutes in UK’s semifinal victory over Houston on Friday. That marked his first game action since spraining his left foot against Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Tournament on March 16.

When asked how much pain he felt in the foot Saturday morning, Washington graded it a five on a scale of from one to 10. It was the same level of pain he felt Friday morning, he said.

Washington walked around the Sprint Center on Saturday without a protective boot or cast on his left foot.

His presence could be telling against Auburn. There was much talk Saturday about the game boiling down to a competition between Kentucky’s front line and attack-the-rim style against Auburn’s three-point shooting.

The winner will advance to next week’s Final Four in Minneapolis.

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