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Willie Cauley-Stein injury casts shadow over Cats’ win against Louisville in Sweet Sixteen

INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein left Friday’s Sweet 16 win over Louisville in the first half with a left ankle injury, and with that left the most imposing single piece in Kentucky’s defense for the rest of Friday’s game and perhaps more.
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Kentucky did not disclose the severity or type of injury to Cauley-Stein; according to the school, it was a “left ankle injury,” and the school announced at halftime that he would not return. Nothing further was announced after the game, but John Calipari spoke at the post-game news conference like he knew what he was dealing with.


“It’s not a good ankle injury, let me put it that way,” Calipari said.


If Cauley-Stein is not available to play against Michigan on Sunday, Kentucky will have to rotate between going big and small at the five. Small is, of course, relative to Kentucky. Michigan’s five-man is Jordan Morgan, and he’s listed at 6-8 and 250 pounds. He’s an elite offensive rebounder who reasonably contained Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes to 11 points and six rebounds in Friday’s first game at Lucas Oil Field. Morgan is averaging 13.3 points and nine rebounds in three NCAA Tournament games so far.


Relief for starting center Dakari Johnson in the post on Morgan will likely come from a combination of Julius Randle, Alex Poythress and perhaps Marcus Lee, who played one minute Friday.

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