UK head coach Mark Stoops said Monday during his weekly press luncheon that “We have a chance to be close to 100 percent.”
An open date on the schedule allowed the Wildcats (2-1, 0-1 SEC) to get valuable rest for two key offensive players recovering from Week 1 injuries, running back Braylon Heard and wide receiver Javess Blue. Both played in the Sept. 13 loss at %%MATCH_8%%, but were not at their best against the Gators.
Blue, in particular, needed the time off. The senior wideout severely twisted an ankle in the Cats’ season-opening win over UT-Martin.
“It was good because we were able to push him hard (in practice),” Stoops said. “Prior to the last game, the Florida game, he didn't have much practice. He was somewhat ineffective for him. So last week we were able to push him, get him in shape, run a bunch of plays. He held up just fine, so he should be healthy and ready to go.”
The Cats could also be close to getting sophomore receiver Alex Montgomery back on the field. A knee injury in the %%MATCH_7%% State game cut short his freshman season after he had shown great potential with 16 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
He's getting close,” Stoops said. “He's not far off. He needs a little bit more strength in his leg. The injury itself is healed up and ready to go. We're working on some strength in his quad. So he's very close. He wants to go.”
Sophomore receiver Jeff Badet (eye) has improved, but remains questionable while recovering from getting hit with a tennis ball during a hand-eye coordination drill at practice. Junior offensive lineman Zach West (neck) is also showing signs of improvement. Stoops said the staff would “put him through some things” Monday to see if he’s ready to return.
“I think both of them (Badet and West) will have a chance to play,” Stoop said.