UK Football

Kentucky's Smith ready to play with separated shoulder

Maxwell Smith practiced Tuesday but asked out of Wednesday's practice to rest a shoulder that gets sore after throwing.
Maxwell Smith practiced Tuesday but asked out of Wednesday's practice to rest a shoulder that gets sore after throwing. Herald-Leader

Granted, Kentucky's coaches haven't always been 100 percent open about injuries to their quarterbacks.

See: Tennessee last season and Florida this season.

But Coach Joker Phillips said Wednesday he's confident that sophomore Maxwell Smith will play against No. 6 South Carolina on Saturday.

"Max will be ready to play," Phillips said. "We held him out throwing (Wednesday). He'll end up practicing Tuesday, Thursday."

At the quarterback's request, UK deviated from its original plan to have Smith throw on Wednesday, instead letting him throw on Tuesday and Thursday.

"So I'm going to go tomorrow and hopefully I'll be good for game time," Smith said.

Phillips called the injury to Smith's right, throwing shoulder a sprained acromioclavicular joint. Smith referred to it Wednesday as a separated shoulder. Team spokesman Tony Neely said the UK medical staff told him the two are one and the same.

He said trainers "expect it to be a day-to-day thing the remainder of the season, based on how much contact he has, the severity, the extent and that kind of thing."

Neely added that the medical staff said "this is an injury that can heal on its own. So as long as that's a good possibility, they're not talking about surgery."

After throwing on Tuesday, Smith reported some soreness.

"I felt like I threw it pretty well," he said. "It was painful, so maybe I wasn't able to snap on some balls like I wanted to. I made every throw, but a little bit inaccurate. I'll be all right. It will all come."

Shoulder issues started for Smith after last season's Georgia game, when he was diagnosed with a separation. He didn't play the final game of the season against Tennessee.

When asked to compare the two injuries, Smith said: "I thought the Georgia game was more severe, because I had never had any shoulder problems and that's when it all started. It hurt a lot. I wasn't able to play the rest of that Georgia game. I couldn't even move my arm for a few days. But I was able to keep playing that (Western Kentucky) game. Then I woke up in the morning and I couldn't even move it."

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