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D.J. Wagner leaves Kentucky basketball’s big win over Miami with an injury

Kentucky basketball managed to secure its first marquee win of the season without one of its heralded freshman stars.

Guard D.J. Wagner exited the first half of Kentucky’s blowout 95-73 ACC/SEC Challenge win over No. 8 Miami at Rupp Arena on Tuesday night with an injury.

Early in the second half, UK announced that Wagner wouldn’t return to the game with a “lower extremity injury.”

Postgame, Kentucky head coach John Calipari said it was an ankle injury for Wagner.

Calipari said he didn’t see Wagner following the injury, but heard from UK’s medical staff that Wagner wouldn’t be able to return.

“He wasn’t going to come back,” Calipari said of Wagner.

Kentucky guard D.J. Wagner holds his leg after being fouled by Miami’s Wooga Poplar during an ACC/SEC Challenge game at Rupp Arena on Tuesday.
Kentucky guard D.J. Wagner holds his leg after being fouled by Miami’s Wooga Poplar during an ACC/SEC Challenge game at Rupp Arena on Tuesday.

Wagner suffers injury when driving to the basket

With 4:22 to go in the first half, Wagner drove to the basket and was fouled by Miami’s Wooga Poplar.

Wagner landed on the court awkwardly and needed a moment to collect himself on the hardwood following the hard fall before he went on to attempt a pair of free throws.

Wagner split the free throws, missing the first and making the second before checking out of the game.

He then went back to the UK locker room and didn’t check back in for the remainder of the first half.

Wagner emerged with his UK teammates at halftime for warmups before the second half started, but Wagner didn’t participate in any light shooting: Instead, he went straight for the exercise bike behind the UK bench and did some work on the bike.

Calipari told the ESPN broadcast at halftime it was “unknown” if Wagner would return to the game, before UK announced on social media that Wagner wouldn’t return.

Wagner continued to work out on the exercise bike as the second half began, but still didn’t sit on the UK bench.

UK led Miami 42-37 at halftime, before piling on the points in a second half offensive clinic to win by 22.

Wagner’s final stat line included 5 points and 1 assist in 10 minutes.

Reed Sheppard (21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 block) started the second half in Wagner’s place.

How UK’s Jeff Sheppard and Stacey Reed got together. From the Herald-Leader archives.

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