Collin Cowgill to have surgery on Thursday

Kentucky outfielder Collin Cowgill will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a fracture in his hamate.

Kentucky outfielder Collin Cowgill will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a fracture in his hamate.

The hamate, also called an unciform, is a small, hook-shaped carpal bone in the wrist.

Cowgill has been traveling to and from Cincinnati to meet with a hand specialist for much of the season. The junior, who has yet to play this season because of the discomfort caused by the injury, was unsure exactly what his injury was until earlier this week.

Cowgill learned that he would need surgery after meeting with Dr. Peter J. Stern in Cincinnati on Monday. Dr. Stern, who teaches at the University Of Cincinnati Medical College Department Of Orthopedic Surgery, has devoted his entire career advancing education in orthopedic and hand surgery and is considered one of the nation's top hand surgery specialists.

Earlier in the week, head coach John Cohen said that this process has been a long and mentally painful one for Cowgill. He said that Cowgill was relieved to finally learn the extent of his injury.

"We are very optimistic," Cohen said. "I think Collin is relieved to actually find out exactly what's wrong. Hopefully the surgery will go well."

Cowgill batted .298 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in 2006 and was a key contributor to UK's SEC Championship season. He was voted the best outfield arm in the SEC during the preseason.

"If we could have Collin Cowgill in the middle of this lineup it just does so much for us offensively and defensively," Cohen said. "I just think it would be good to have him."

Cohen said that he expects to have Cowgill back in the lineup sooner than later after the surgery.

"It's anywhere from a 2-4 week hamate situation. We feel that we can get him back at the latest for the Mississippi State season which puts us right at the midway point in our season. It might even be better than that. "

Other injuries

Freshman Jason Kipnis is still nursing a sore ankle. Kipnis rolled his ankle during pre-game warm ups a week ago. Cohen is unsure when he will return to action.

Sophomore pitcher Scott Green seems to be getting his arm strength back.

"Scott Green is jumping out and starting to make a real jump and this is what we wanted. If Scott gets to optimal health we are going to have to figure out a role for that because it's just too good not to."

Green missed the entire 2006 season after having Tommy Johns surgery. The UK coaching staff has been working him back into game action slowly this season.

Cohen is happy with the pace of Green's progression thus far.

"He is throwing baseballs 93 to 94 miles an hour right now with an 87 mile an hour slider. He is the real deal and we have to find the best way to use him and protect his health at the same time."

Junior Ryan Wilkes's shoulder tendonitis is improving as well. Wilkes, who is the Cats' usual shortstop, has been playing second base since the soreness appeared.

"I think that's getting better," Cohen said, "we just keep trying to protect him. Any time we take him out of a game it's because of that, and that is why he's playing second base. I think it's good."

Cohen said that Wilkes's maturity has helped him recover faster.

"He is just such a different kid than he was two years ago. I think the maturity level to understand how to protect himself is much, much better and I think he gets it."

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