UK Football

Kentucky tight end suffers second serious injury in two years, will miss spring practice

Tight end Justin Rigg (83) congratulated teammate Benny Snell after the running back scored against Louisville in November. Some of Rigg’s best games last season came at the end and coaches believe he’s in for a big season in 2018.
Tight end Justin Rigg (83) congratulated teammate Benny Snell after the running back scored against Louisville in November. Some of Rigg’s best games last season came at the end and coaches believe he’s in for a big season in 2018.

It’s been a frightening few 24 hours for Kentucky’s Justin Rigg.

On the first day of spring practice on Monday, the junior tight end was involved in a collision that forced him to be hospitalized with head and abdominal pain.

That pain turned out to be a lacerated spleen, UK Coach Mark Stoops confirmed Tuesday morning, but it does not sound like something that will require surgery.

“At this time everything is very positive,” Stoops said. “All the tests last night and this morning, everything is very positive, very good. He should have a full recovery, but more than likely — or he will be out this entire spring.”

Early on, the prognosis was not as good, said Rigg’s position coach, Vince Marrow.

“At first we were thinking it was going to carry into the middle of the season, but he’s only going to be out about six weeks now,” said Marrow, who sat with a dejected Rigg at University of Kentucky Hospital on Monday.

rigg(2)
Justin Rigg was injured on the first day of spring football practice Monday when he collided with defensive back Chris Westry. UK Athletics

“His first day he was upset, he wanted to know if he could practice the next day,” Marrow said. “And I was like, ‘Dude, that ain’t going to happen.’ But we got a good report on him.”

Rigg is “feeling good,” Stoops said, noting that he should be fine to play in the fall. “There’s been no setbacks, so I would expect him to be released from the hospital (Tuesday).”

It’s the second scary and significant injury for Rigg, who missed most of his freshman season following a laceration to his kidney.

“That was the first thing I talked to him about yesterday when I saw him in the hospital as well,” Stoops said of the previous injury. “Very uncommon to have some organs lacerated like that with one player that’s so young, but like I said everything is very positive and seems like it’s going to be OK.”

Kentucky's Darin Hinshaw breaks down what is shaping up to be a long quarterback battle.

The 6-foot-6, 257-pound Rigg bounced back last season and played in all 13 games, catching three passes for 40 yards, including a career-best two catches for 34 yards in the Music City Bowl to end the season.

• Cornerback Chris Westry, who was in on that collision with Rigg, was held out of practice Tuesday.

“He’ll probably be out most of this week,” Stoops said of the senior. “After spring break, I would imagine Chris will be back out there at practice.”

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader

  Comments