LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky sophomore Jason Parker, who underwent reconstructive surgery on July 2 for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, reinjured the knee on Friday and will miss the 2002 basketball season, University of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith announced Saturday. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam performed Saturday morning confirmed the tear.
Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward who started all 34 games last season, tore the reconstructed ligament in the locker room prior to introductions for Big Blue Madness.
"Jason is just devastated right now. He was doing exceptionally well in his rehabilitation and was on track to return to our team later in the season," Smith said. "He was horsing around with a couple of the other players and he said he just stepped, planted and rotated on that knee. It was a freak accident."
Parker will undergo surgery in the next three to four weeks once the swelling subsides, according to athletic trainer David Kindy. UK will apply for a medical redshirt for the upcoming season and when granted, Parker will have three years of eligibility remaining.
The Charlotte, N.C., native was the first true freshman to start a season opener for a Smith-coached UK team. He finished third on the team in scoring in 2001, averaging 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He tallied a career-high 22 points in the Cats' final game against Southern Cal in the NCAA Tournament.