Two Kentucky players will miss spring practice after having successful shoulder surgeries in the off-season, a Kentucky spokesman confirmed on Wednesday morning.
Quarterback Maxwell Smith as well as safety Ashely Lowery will not be available for contact during spring training as they recover from their surgeries.
Freshman wide receiver Alexander Montgomery also will not participate in spring drills while recovering from season-ending knee surgery.
The surgery for Smith was on his right throwing shoulder, but UK spokesman Tony Neely said he was not sure if it was for the initial injury to Smith’s AC joint that he suffered his freshman season at Georgia or the strain this past season.
In August, Smith said he opted not to have shoulder surgery last winter. He did have off-season ankle surgery in 2012.
“It was definitely a discussion I went through,” Smith said in August when asked about the surgical options for his shoulder.
Smith said UK doctors made a lot of calls for him about the shoulder, which he said was similar to the injury suffered by former Oklahoma star quarterback Sam Bradford.
“His was just the worst degree possible whereas mine was one degree away from the worst degree possible,” Smith explained in August. “So I easily could’ve had the surgery, but they’re saying Sam Bradford, he still could have the same complications that I’m having right now. So the surgery might not have helped that much.”
Another shoulder injury against Louisville, which Coach Mark Stoops and Smith said was unrelated to the previous AC joint injury, caused the quarterback issues all season.
Smith was asked about his shoulder’s health after the Cats’ loss to Tennessee at the end of the season.
“My shoulder is all right; shoulder’s good,” he said at the end of the season. “I have a bad shoulder, and maybe we’ll get it re-evaluated. I didn’t practice, but I played, so that’s really all that matters. I did all I could.”
An ankle injury, which required surgery last off-season, ultimately ended Smith’s sophomore season and left UK with true freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles to lead the offense.
This season, Smith played in nine games, throwing for 1,276 yards and nine touchdowns, with one interception. He completed 57.4 percent of his passes (105 of 183).
Neely said Smith, who should be cleared to throw again this summer, would be a part of the “mental repetitions” in spring practice in what is expected to be a crowd behind the Kentucky offensive line.
UK returns starter Jalen Whitlow, red-shirt quarterback Patrick Towles as well as Reese Phillips, who was moved up to the No. 2 QB spot by the end of the season. Then there’s true freshman and star Kentucky signee Drew Barker.
Lowery’s shoulder injury happened during the season, but he was able to play through it, Neely said. The junior, who played in all 12 games, was ninth on the team in tackles with 46 last season. He also had one interception and three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.