The struggling Kentucky Wildcats were dealt another blow this week as it was confirmed that starting quarterback Maxwell Smith will be forced to undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his ankle.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips spoke to reporters Monday, revealing that Smith sustained the injury in the first quarter of the Wildcats’ 38-17 loss to South Carolina on Saturday and that the sophomore QB would be out indefinitely following his operation. Rant Sports noted that Kentucky will apply for a medical hardship for Smith if he cannot return.
“He’s down, obviously,” Phillips told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “He worked his tail off to be in the position to play major-college football.”
Prior to his injury, Smith was second in the SEC in completions (103) and had 975 passing yards.
In Smith’s absence, coach Phillips said he will go with freshmen Patrick Towles and Jalen Whitlow as quarterback. Though Whitlow — who threw for a TD and ran for another against the Gamecocks Saturday — will likely be the starter, Towles, who was scheduled to redshirt this season, should see playing time as well.
“We’ll have to play them both,” Phillips said. “It’s going to take an effort of both of them. And it could be right in the middle of a series. It could be play after play after play, switching them out.”
Senior Morgan Newton is likely out of the race altogether after going 7-of-21 for 48 yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions against Florida two weeks ago.
The University of Kentucky (1-4) plays 20th-ranked Mississippi State (4-0) this Saturday.