Standout Kentucky basketball sophomore will miss his fifth straight game for Wildcats

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Kentucky men’s basketball continues to play short-handed.

Sophomore Adou Thiero isn’t available to play for UK tonight in the Wildcats’ home SEC contest against Mississippi State.

This marks the fifth straight game that Thiero — a sophomore standout who has averaged 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season — won’t appear in for the Cats.

Thiero was not on the court with his UK teammates for warmups about an hour prior to Wednesday night’s game. When the Wildcats emerged for final warmups, Thiero was not with the team.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari said on UK pregame radio that Thiero saw doctors Wednesday morning and is awaiting more news.

“He’s moving fine, and doing all that... When you’re dealing with the back you’ve got to be careful,” Calipari said.

UK posted on social media about 20 minutes before Wednesday’s game that Thiero would remain out.

Thiero emerged with the UK team just prior to tipoff of Wednesday’s game, but wasn’t dressed in uniform.

Calipari has briefly mentioned Thiero’s absence in several postgame press conferences and radio show appearances in recent weeks. The Kentucky coach has previously said that Thiero “still has some testing to do” and that Thiero’s back is what’s causing the second-year player discomfort.

Thiero hasn’t appeared in a game for UK since logging 13 minutes in a rivalry win at Louisville on Dec. 21.

In total, Thiero has now missed more than a third of Kentucky’s season so far: This is the sixth time in 16 games that he hasn’t been available to play.

In addition to this current five-game run of missed time, Thiero also sat out UK’s second game of the season against Texas A&M-Commerce while in concussion protocol.

“It’s been felt,” UK associate coach Orlando Antigua said Tuesday afternoon about Thiero’s absence. “Obviously, just not only on the defensive side, just his physicality and his ability (on offense) to create off the bounce and get some opportunities on the offensive glass as well. And just his toughness and his nose for the ball.”

The UK program announced that Thiero missed the first two games of this current stretch — against Illinois State on Dec. 29 and Florida on Jan. 6 — due to “general soreness.”

While no official statement was given regarding Thiero’s absence from Kentucky’s SEC home opener last week against Missouri, Calipari addressed Thiero’s absence after that game.

“The back was bothering him and this was the best course of action. So hopefully he is back soon,” Calipari said.

On Saturday, Calipari briefly mentioned Thiero’s absence as part of a larger answer about Kentucky’s current defensive struggles following a road loss at Texas A&M.

In the moments that he’s been on the court this season, Thiero has put together some standout performances, including a 16-point, 13-rebound effort against then-No. 1 Kansas in the Champions Classic and a four-block outing against then-No. 9 North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic.

Kentucky’s Adou Thiero is averaging 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season.
Kentucky’s Adou Thiero is averaging 7.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season.