Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks spent the first five minutes of his Sunday teleconference with the media going through the injury list. In all, Brooks ran through 15 players who were held from Sunday's practice for various ailments.
"It's a pretty extensive list," he said. "It's the longest one we've had all year. A lot of it is re-aggravation of old injuries and just the grind of the season kind of bumps and bruises."
The good news is that most of the injured players are expected to be available for Saturday's pivotal game against Vanderbilt. The lone exception is tight end T.C. Drake, who's doubtful with a pulled groin.
Tailback Derrick Locke, who sat out UK's 37-12 win over Eastern Kentucky, should return to the starting lineup. Sophomore receiver Randall Cobb was held from the EKU game with a sprained thumb that is in a cast, but Brooks hopes the worst-case scenario has Cobb playing against Vanderbilt in a splint. Senior tailback Alfonso Smith has played the last several weeks with a splint over his injured thumb.
"Randall's injury is not as bad as Alfonso's," Brooks said. "The ligament is not torn. It's still stable, it is not fractured. A bone bruise of the joint what we think it is. If that settles down, he'll have total function. We just don't know how quickly that will settle down."
All the uncertainty over who would be available made it difficult for Brooks and his staff to game-plan for the Eastern Kentucky game. Brooks thought Locke would play up until Thursday and didn't decide to hold out Cobb until his thumb flared up Saturday morning.
Brooks still isn't certain who the starting quarterback will be for the Vanderbilt game, either. Mike Hartline, who's missed the past four games with a knee injury, has been doing some throwing and Brooks will gauge whether Hartline is ready to play as practice develops this week. Brooks said a decision on whether Hartline or freshman Morgan Newton will start likely won't come until later in the week.
"I think we can pretty much do the same things game plan-wise with Morgan and Mike," Brooks said. "It'll be a later in the week decision because you never know what that much activity will do with (Hartline's knee). We have to see if it doesn't swell and limit his mobility. If it does that, then he wouldn't play."