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What Hood's injury means for him, UK

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Jon Hood averaged 4.8 minutes in 33 games last year as a sophomore. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics) Jon Hood averaged 4.8 minutes in 33 games last year as a sophomore. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)
News broke Tuesday night that Kentucky men's basketball junior Jon Hood suffered a torn right anterior ligament playing in a pick-up game on Monday. Hood will undergo surgery once the inflammation subsides, but there is no current timetable on his return.

Now the questions becomes, is it possible Hood could return this season? Sure. Is it likely? Probably not.

As modern medicine and rehabilitation have improved, the time it takes to recover from knee injuries has considerably shrunk. Having said that, a torn ACL still takes -- at the very least -- about six months to recover from and usually more.

If Hood were to have surgery in the next week and make a miraculous recovery in six months, that would put a possible return of somewhere around late January or early February. And again, that's a best-case scenario.

For perspective, UK Hoops guard Amber Smith suffered a torn ACL last year around this time (her torn ACL was announced Aug. 11). She vowed to return before season's end to rejoin senior teammates Victoria Dunlap and Amber Smith on another postseason run, but Smith ultimately had to abandon those plans when it became clear in late January that her knee wasn't 100 percent yet.

Football wide receiver Gene McCaskill also tore his ACL in mid-August last year and missed the entire 2010 season, including spring practice.

And even if Hood were ready to go in February, is it worth him wasting a year of eligibility for just a couple of months? At that point, head coach John Calipari will have settled on a rotation, and for a guy who has seen limited action the past two seasons, it's tough to imagine him coming back from injury and cracking a star-studded lineup.

The most likely option for Hood is a medical redshirt. That means Hood would sit out this upcoming season and have two years of eligibility left, starting with the 2012-13 season. Hood nor UK have gotten that far yet.

What's the injury mean for UK's national championship hopes this year? It doesn't do too much to diminish them. UK will still have Darius Miller, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb, in addition to the nation's No. 1 signing class.

But if there's one thing we learned about Josh Harrellson's transformation a year ago, it's that veteran leadership and development are very important. UK will be without the benefit of both from Hood this season.

"This is a tough blow 4 both Jon & our team," Calipari said on Twitter. "Veteran leadership on a young team is irreplaceable but john will use this 2 come back stronger."

The news is certainly a tough blow for Hood, who played in 33 games last season in Kentucky's Final Four run, but the injury could be a blessing in disguise in the long run. Another year in the program could improve Hood's game and chances at playing down the road.

"Thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers," Hood said Thursday night via Twitter. "This is an obstacle I will overcome. We have the best trainers and doctors in the nation. I love my team and can not wait to get back out with them! Thanks again for everything." 

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3 Comments

Jon is a tough young man and will be back a lot better and most likely what the teams will need down the road in leadership. GO BIG BLUE

Hope you have a speedy recovery Jon and come back strong when you are able to.

Jon BBN loves you and will be praying for your complete and total recovery. Get well soon!

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  • JR.: Jon BBN loves you and will be praying for your complete and total recovery. Get well soon! read more
  • Mike: Hope you have a speedy recovery Jon and come back strong when you are able to. read more
  • Katbluefan: Jon is a tough young man and will be back a lot better and most likely what the teams will read more