By LARRY VAUGHT
Could Terrence Clarke make a miraculous return to play at the Southeastern Conference Tournament and lead Kentucky to the tourney championship it needs to make the NCAA Tournament?
Remember it was Feb. 8 that UK coach John Calipari said Clarke would be out another four weeks. Well four weeks was up Monday.
Clarke may have just been expressing his feelings or he may have just been toying with UK fans with a tweet he posted that said, “Officially done being depressed.”
If it was only that easy for Clarke or UK fans who are equally depressed with UK’s 9-16 mark going into Thursday’s game against Mississippi State.
Clarke didn’t play in any SEC regular game. His last game was an ineffective outing against Louisville Dec. 29 in a 62-59 UK loss.
Clarke, a top 10 national recruit, was expected to be UK’s star player this year. Instead, he averaged 10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game — he had 22 points against Georgia Tech — in seven games before he went out with an injury.
Clarke had a MRI on his ankle in early February that did not show any structural damage. Calipari urged UK fans to be patient with Clarke who simply seemed unable to play through pain. What was even more frustrating was that Calipari first estimated Clarke would only be out a week or so and that has turned into over two months.
So could Clarke play in Nashville this week? Don’t count on it based on what Calipari said on his weekly radio show Monday night.
“He’s working and he’s trying but even if he could play, he hasn’t played since Christmas,” Calipari said.
Translation: Even if he could, and I don’t think he can play, he likely would not be that much help any way.