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Tre Mitchell was out injured, again, for Kentucky basketball in SEC road loss at LSU

After 26 games of the 2023-24 season, the Kentucky men’s basketball team has been at full strength for a grand total of 24 minutes.

Those all came in last week’s home win over Ole Miss, after fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell returned from a two-game absence due to a back injury. Mitchell played well in the first half of that return game against Ole Miss, but he exited that contest early in the second half with a left shoulder injury.

That shoulder injury kept Mitchell from playing for UK in Saturday’s impressive road win at Auburn, and it also kept Mitchell out of Wednesday night’s road loss at LSU.

A total of eight UK players have now combined to miss 50 games this season due to injury, illness or other availability issues.

UK head coach John Calipari said in a pregame radio interview that Mitchell was out and wouldn’t play against the Tigers.

“He’s making strides,” Calipari said.

Kentucky’s coach also said 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.

Mitchell didn’t go through pregame warmups at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ahead of the matchup between No. 17 Kentucky and LSU.

The Tigers won, 75-74, on a buzzer-beating shot by Tyrell Ward.

On his weekly radio show Monday night, Calipari said Mitchell didn’t practice fully with the Cats on Monday.

Calipari said Mitchell did some running during Monday’s practice, but stopped short of saying that UK’s veteran frontcourt presence was a full go.

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

The Wildcats now own a 2-2 record in games this season that 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. Thiero had eight points and nine rebounds Wednesday against the Tigers, and he led all players in the game in rebounding.

Kentucky fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell stands with a basketball during pregame warm-ups before a game between UK and LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA, Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Mitchell is dealing with a left shoulder injury.
Kentucky fifth-year forward Tre Mitchell stands with a basketball during pregame warm-ups before a game between UK and LSU at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA, Wednesday, February 21, 2024. Mitchell is dealing with a left shoulder injury.