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November 15, 2012
Cats take on Lafayette in Friday's home opener
Kentucky will play Lafayette at Rupp Arena on Friday. That much is certain.
Whether Ryan Harrow will take part is far less clear.
The Wildcats' sophomore point guard missed Tuesday's loss to Duke in Atlanta with an illness, and though he's "doing better," UK coach John Calipari said Thursday and worked out with the strength and conditioning staff on Wednesday, he won't play against the Leopards if he wasn't able to participate in practice.
Harrow was not shooting around with teammates prior to practice.
Calipari was asked Thursday if Harrow's absence is purely physical - Calipari said this week that Harrow would take blood tests, but said Thursday there have been no results - or if there's something mental.
"We don't think so," Calipari said. "We're just trying to tell him, 'You've got to get energy. You've got to get your energy. You got to play at a higher level.' I think he'll be fine."
Harrow played 10 scoreless minutes in last Friday's win against Maryland before missing Tuesday's trip to Atlanta, where UK lost 75-68, and No. 3 Kentucky (1-1) is feeling Harrow's absence.
"We all miss him," forward Kyle Wiltjer said. "He's a fantastic player. We just want him to get well and get back so he can keep working with us."
It's unclear when that might happen, or even exactly what's wrong with Harrow. UK said his minutes were limited against Maryland due to "flu-like symptoms," but Calipari has since said only that Harrow's energy has been limited.
The UK players available for interviews Thursday indicated they hadn't spoken directly with Harrow. Guard Julius Mays said, " From what I've heard, he's doing better, he's getting healthy. That's all I've heard." Guard Jon Hood said, "I haven't been around him because of the mystery."
For now, Kentucky has made do without Harrow. Calipari has been forced to play freshman Archie Goodwin some minutes at point guard and has used former walk-on Jarrod Polson in longer-than-expected stretches.
Calipari has talked increasingly in recent days about Goodwin as a point guard, but the UK coach said he needs to find some minutes for Goodwin as a shooting guard, the better to allow him to fly up the court unencumbered with the responsibility of initiating the offense.
Calipari said he could use Harrow "in spells" to let Goodwin slide to the two guard, once Harrow is back.
"And I may even put Julius or Jarrod (at point) until Ryan comes back," Calipari said. "It could be Jarrod, it could be Julius, but we have to be able to get out and fly and we're not right now."
With or without Harrow, UK probably should fly past Lafayette (1-1), its opponent on Friday night. The Leopards are a strong three-point shooting and offensive-execution team that will present multiple defensive looks, Calipari said.
Still, the talent gap is wide, and Kentucky should be favored to cruise.
How soon they'll have Harrow back on the boat, though, is a question likely to linger.
"We know Ryan's important," Hood said. "We know that we're going to need him to win. That's something that we have to deal with. We're playing well without him. When he gets back, we're just going to try to fit him back in."