Two of Kentucky’s top three receivers likely won’t be available to play on Saturday against Missouri.
At his weekly news conference, Mark Stoops announced Monday that freshman Alexander Montgomery is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Fellow freshman Ryan Timmons is not expected to play Saturday because of a badly sprained ankle.
Montgomery, UK’s third-leading receiver with 16 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns, injured his knee against Alabama State catching one of those scores.
The freshman from Weston, Fla., was going up for a chest bump with fellow wideout Demarco Robinson when he landed awkwardly on his leg and crumpled onto the field.
“It was three of us that jumped, so I guess when he came down it came down wrong on his knee,” Robinson said after the victory.
Robinson said trainers even came to him afterward and said no more victory leaps.
“My trainer told me ‘Just chill, we don’t need nobody else getting hurt,’” Robinson said.
Kentucky also might be without wideout Timmons, who badly sprained his ankle in the game against the Hornets, Stoops said.
The versatile freshman from Frankfort is second on the team in receiving yards (27 catches for 295 yards and two TDs) and is the team’s fourth-best rusher, running 11 times for 89 yards this season.
Kentucky did get one piece of good news on the injury front: Javess Blue should be able to play against the Tigers on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
The junior college transfer had a freak accident before the Alabama State game when he took a ball to the face while warming up. The ball caused Blue’s eye to swell, and he wasn’t able to see to play.
Blue leads the Cats’ air attack this season with 28 catches for 346 yards and two touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown said he was meeting with some recruits before the game and got word of Blue’s injury from wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord.
“So we just kind of adjusted,” Brown said. “We had a lot of things, we were going to try to get him involved early in the game, so we kind of had to adjust a few plays there.”
The rest of the UK offense seemed slightly shaken by the Blue and Montgomery injuries, Brown said after the win.
“It’s tough, because you’re watching guys that you’re spending all your time with that are getting hurt. I think it probably did affect that receiver group a little bit,” Brown said. “Javess gets hurt during the pregame, then Alex goes out early. Those guys are kind of like, ‘What’s next?’ But you got to move on, next man up, take advantage of the opportunities.”
On the latest UK depth chart released Monday, Daryl Collins and Ronnie Shields are listed behind Timmons. Those two players have combined for two catches and 12 yards.
Blue is listed ahead of Montgomery at the other wide receiver spot, with sophomore A.J. Legree behind him.
A.J. Legree, listed behind Montgomery, has four catches for 36 yards this season. But one of those grabs was for 18 yards.
Kentucky’s other top receivers, Demarco Robinson and Jeff Badet, are listed at the same receiver spot.