It’s never a good thing to lose a player due to injury for any extended period of time, but the sting is even more painful when it’s a player expected to make an instant impact at a position of need. Those concerns briefly became reality – or were thought to be – when Kentucky freshman receiver Dekel Crowdus went down with a knee injury in practice last week, one that was expected to end his season before it began.
“The day it happened, I went over to him and he was really upset about it,” junior receiver Wan’Dale Robinson said Saturday. “At first, we thought it was going to be longer than the news that came out.”
After going through testing throughout the afternoon on Thursday and again Friday morning, doctors met the four-star freshman with good news. X-ray and MRI results revealed a simple knee sprain, an injury that would keep him out weeks rather than a complete season.
“We are optimistic that — well, he does not have a torn ligament, it’s just a strain,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops announced Saturday. “There’s a good opportunity he’ll be back soon, within a couple weeks.”
Leading up to the injury, Crowdus had been turning heads in practice as one of the team’s top deep threats, with his speed separating himself from the pack as a true freshman.
“Top notch speed. Catching the football. Making plays, making explosive plays,” Crowdus said of his abilities in an interview with KSR on UK Media Day. “I’m very excited to show them (coaches) what I can do by catching deep balls, making plays, helping the team.”
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) August 10, 2021
The injury scare is one that will likely keep him out the remainder of fall camp, but won’t limit his ability to make an impact when the season begins in September. After a strong summer and start of fall, Stoops sees an avenue for him to earn immediate game reps in year one.
“It’s really good that Dekel has an opportunity to come back because he really is doing some good things,” said Stoops. “He has the speed you’re looking for. Hopefully we’ll get him back in a couple weeks.”
Relieved to hear Crowdus’ positive injury report, Robinson expects his receiving counterpart to come back stronger than ever and make plays. After all, he has one of the few things in football you can’t teach.
“You saw the kid out there and knew he was explosive, can make a lot of plays. That speed that he has is something you just can’t teach,” Robinson said of Crowdus. “… It’s just really good to know he’ll be okay and he’s going to bounce back.”
(Very) minor setback for a major comeback.