The injury bug is going around among the state’s top contenders for the 2019 Mr. Basketball award.
Pendleton County’s Dontaie Allen, Trinity’s David Johnson and Scott County’s Michael Moreno — the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 players in the preseason according to Kentucky coaches — all in recent weeks suffered injuries that kept them from helping their teams as 2018 came to a close.
Allen, a University of Kentucky signee, suffered a knee injury during the second quarter of a game on Dec. 22. The state’s leading scorer and rebounder missed all three of Pendleton County’s games in the Ashland Invitational Tournament last week.
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Johnson — who signed with Louisville in November and is ranked slightly ahead of Allen for the state’s top spot in 247Sports’ rankings — was diagnosed with a sprained MCL following a fall in the King of the Bluegrass semifinals, also on Dec. 22. Johnson has since missed four games, in which Trinity went 1-3. He told 247Sports’ Jody Demling that he’s doing physical therapy and expects to return in a few weeks, which could mean he’ll be available in time for the Louisville Invitational Tournament, which begins Jan. 14.
Moreno is the most recent addition to the injured list and might have the longest stay. He suffered a fracture in his right foot ahead of the Beach Ball Classic quarterfinals on Dec. 28, missing that round and Scott County’s semifinal and championship appearances. Moreno, who remains uncommitted and recently added an offer from Coastal Carolina to a list that includes Iowa, EKU, Toledo and Bradley, will be out four to six weeks, possibly leaving the Cardinals without him until the postseason begins on Feb. 18. Scott County is 2-1 since Moreno’s injury.
KyKy Tandy and Isaiah Cozart — the No. 3 and No. 5 players in the preseason, respectively, have so far played in every game for their teams.
Tandy, who’s signed with Xavier, is averaging 25.4 points for University Heights Academy. He led UHA to the 2018 Traditional Bank Holiday Classic title to close out the year. The Blazers are 13-2 overall.
Cozart, the state’s all-time leading shot-blocker and a WKU signee, is averaging 20.5 points and 12.8 rebounds for Madison Central, which is off to a 6-7 start this season.