Injured Kentucky Wildcats Briscoe, Willis return to practice in Bahamas

Kentucky head coach John Calipari says injured Wildcats Isaiah Briscoe and Derek Willis have returned to practice and should be ready to play in Monday's game against Arizona State in the Bahamas.

Briscoe has missed the last two games after being the victim of a flagrant foul on a breakaway layup against Duquesne on Nov. 20. The sophomore guard, one of the Wildcats' three backcourt starters going into the season, had an MRI prior to the trip to the Bahamas to rule out any other complications. 

“He’s fine," Calipari said. "It was a butt bruise is what it was. So the MRI came clean, which meant it was like a thigh bruise. Alright now that I know what it is, let’s go. Enough. It’s a thigh bruise. Now it was a deep one, and he had to miss a couple games, but at this point let’s go."

The UK boss said Briscoe looked "ridiculous" at Saturday's practice. "Then I was saying, ‘How in the world could you not play in the game and then the next game practice like you just did?’

"Here’s what I said to my staff: ‘All these kids, there’s a fear hanging over them of what if something...?  Like, if you don’t know what that is, you probably take games off.' After he knew what it was – with the MRI – he’s fine, but I don’t blame him. I trust a kid when he tells me, ‘I’m not feeling like I can go.’ Then don’t go. We’ll figure it out. I just hope that someone doesn’t play really well and take your spot. Because that can happen too."

Willis, a senior forward, left UK's 111-76 win over UT Martin early in the second half after spraining a thumb. Like Briscoe, he has also recovered quickly

“He shot better yesterday than he has in a month with a bad thumb," Calipari joked. "Looked like a sniper got him during the game, and then the next day he’s making every shot, so I’m not sure if, you know... But he’s fine.”

Willis had a precautionary X-ray, which turned up negative.

No. 1 Kentucky (6-0) will play Arizona State (4-2) on Monday in the Atlantis Showcase at Imperial Arena on Paradise Island. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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