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Sahvir Wheeler Expects to be Available vs. Providence Friday

Sahvir Wheeler
UK Athletics

Sahvir Wheeler hasn’t played in a game for Kentucky since February 4, a Wildcat win at Rupp Arena vs. Florida.

The UK guard could return to action vs. Providence in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night.

“I was able to participate in almost a full practice,” Wheeler told reporters Thursday in Greensboro. “I went live a little bit. I was able to run up and down and did some workouts. We had a couple of days off from the regular season to the SEC Tournament, so I couldn’t get in the gym. I was doing a lot of treatment and massaging, just getting my body right, and listening to Geoff and the doctors. We’ve got the best training staff.”

Wheeler suffered an ankle injury earlier this season that sidelined him for several weeks. While recovering from that injury, a minor procedure was required to treat another injury on March 1, resulting in Wheeler missing Senior Night at Rupp Arena. The 5-foot-9 guard also missed Kentucky’s win at Tennessee in mid-January due to a shoulder injury.

Wheeler, who returned to Kentucky as a Bob Cousy Award finalist a year ago, watched freshman Cason Wallace take over the lead guard position while he battled through injuries.

The senior guard missed Kentucky’s last nine games leading up to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. His return would add depth to the backcourt, along with providing Kentucky with another ball handler.

But there’s one final test Wheeler has to pass before returning to the floor.

“He is trying his hardest, and he is doing great stuff, but I’ve got to really feel that he is going to be maybe not 100 percent, but he can’t be 80,” Calipari said Thursday. “Not in a game like this. Providence is well-coached. They have terrific players.

“So we will see,” Calipari added. “He will go through the shoot-around. We will practice a little bit after this, and then the doctors and the trainers will tell me what they think.”

Wheeler is averaging 7.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 21 games this season.

“It’s been tough. I think the toughest thing is not being out there with my guys,” Wheeler said about his time away from the court. “But also it’s been great recovering, doing the best I can. Getting better each and every day, each and every rep, each and every practice, each and every workout. I’m just super excited to be in this situation again, to be in the tournament with my guys. Hopefully, we do some great things.”

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