Tre Mitchell injury update: Will the 5th-year UK basketball forward play against Alabama?

Through 26 games of this 2023-24 Kentucky basketball season, the Wildcats have only been at full strength for 24 total minutes.

Those all came in a home win over Ole Miss on Feb. 13, and came before fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell suffered a left shoulder injury early in the second half.

Mitchell, who had missed the two games before that Ole Miss contest with a back injury, has since missed UK’s two most recent games with that shoulder injury.

Will he be back for Kentucky’s marquee home game on Saturday afternoon against SEC-leading No. 13 Alabama?


Mitchell is out for Saturday’s contest, as announced pregame by UK.

Mitchell didn’t go through pregame warmups with his UK teammates on Saturday afternoon. He wore street clothes and stood off to the side while other UK players went through stretches and light shooting work.

During UK’s pregame radio show Saturday, UK head coach John Calipari said he didn’t think Mitchell would play against Alabama.

Calipari said Mitchell is “still tender” and would be a gametime decision to play or not against the Crimson Tide. But, the fifth-year forward won’t play.

This will be Mitchell’s third straight missed game for UK, and his fifth injury absence in a six-game span.

Prior to Kentucky’s road loss at LSU on Wednesday night, Calipari said on UK’s pregame radio show that Mitchell was “making strides” in his recovery.

Kentucky’s coach also said during that pregame radio appearance that he might need to “bring (Mitchell) along slower” in his injury recovery process so that Mitchell can play more physically when he does return to the UK lineup.

Calipari didn’t address Mitchell’s injury during his brief postgame remarks at LSU.

Mitchell is averaging 12.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season, and he has started all 22 games that he’s played in for Kentucky after previous college stops at UMass, Texas and West Virginia.

The Wildcats have gone 2-2 this season in games Mitchell hasn’t played in, with wins over Vanderbilt and Auburn and losses to Gonzaga and LSU.

Sophomore Adou Thiero has started for Kentucky in all four games that Mitchell hasn’t played in this season, and Thiero will again start in Mitchell’s place against Alabama.

Thiero has averaged 10.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 28 minutes played across those four contests. Thiero had four blocks against LSU and three blocks against Gonzaga.

A lack of roster continuity has been a season-long theme for UK basketball: Including Saturday, a total of eight Kentucky players have combined to miss 51 games this season due to injury, illness or other availability issues.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Thiero said Friday about UK’s persistent injury issues. “It’s like the basketball gods don’t want to see us all play together, because they just know what’s going to happen if we all play together. But the time’s coming. Hopefully soon, we’ll have a whole team. And stay like that.”

Kentucky fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell stands with a basketball during pregame warmups before Wednesday’s game against LSU.
Kentucky fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell stands with a basketball during pregame warmups before Wednesday’s game against LSU.