Every time coach John Calipari gives an update on Clarke and his ankle injury, it seems the timetable for his return just keeps getting pushed back.
He has not played in any of UK’s eight Southeastern Conference games going into Saturday night’s game with Texas. Calipari had indicated last week Clarke might be about 10 days away from returning but on his weekly radio show Wednesday night he noted that the freshman was still a “few games away” before playing.
Clarke hurt his ankle against North Carolina on Dec. 19 and then was ineffective against Louisville a week later when Calipari tried to let him play through the pain in UK’s 3-point loss.when he did not score or grab a rebound in 14 minutes.
The 6-7 Clarke was averaging 10.7 points per game when he was hurt. But he was expected to be a much, much bigger scorer this year and perhaps the focal point on UK’s offense that is averaging just 68 points per game after 15 games.
“He can break you down and go get by you and go get a shot,” Calipari said Wednesday night. “He’s a bigger guard, we can post him, we can get some easy baskets. But he’s gotta be healthy.
“He can’t do what he did against Louisville -– be at 70 percent and think it’s okay. We’re trying to get him healthy. I still think he’s a few games away from being able to do that. For us, we got to say again, ‘Here’s who we have, how do we win? How do we put ourselves in the best position?’”