LEXINGTON — Whether junior Darius Miller will be able to play against Mississippi State tonight because of a right groin injury he suffered against Vanderbilt on Saturday still isn’t known.
“I don’t have any idea. We would like him to play, but if he can’t play, he can’t play,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday. “It gives someone else a chance to step in and get an opportunity and show they should be playing more.”
Miller, a junior forward, has started all 24 games this year and averages 9.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 29.2 minutes per game. He had played between 31 and 39 minutes in UK’s previous six Southeastern Conference games before being limited to just 18 minutes at Vanderbilt because of first-half foul trouble and the second-half injury.
Miller is shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range and also has 42 assists, 25 blocked shots and 20 steals this season.
While some have questioned Miller’s play at times, including Calipari, who has pleaded with him to play like an all-SEC performer he thinks he can be, freshman Terrence Jones says not having Miller would be a big loss.
“It would hurt us a lot. He’s a big impact to the team,” Jones said. “He’s a starter. We don’t play that many guys and he’s one guy that plays a lot of minutes. That would have a big impact (if he doesn’t play). That would cause other players to step up and bench players to hopefully give us a little more.”
Sophomore Jon Hood has been given only limited opportunities in league play and freshman Stacey Poole has not played in the last seven SEC games.
“It doesn’t matter who it comes from. Darius provides rebounds and guarding,” Jones said. “We just need someone to defend and rebound and try to play as hard as they can.”
Miller was not in the gym shooting or doing any pre-practice drills with other players during UK’s media time Monday.
“I don’t know if he will play or not. I hope so,” Jones said.