Georgia will await an official diagnosis on junior forward Yante Maten’s right knee. But from what has been relayed to head coach Mark Fox, the injury is “serious” and “significant.”
Fox used both of those words in separate instances when discussing Maten’s injury following the Bulldogs’ narrow 82-77 loss to No. 13 Kentucky. Georgia maintained a close game throughout the full 40 minutes with the Wildcats despite losing Maten in the first two minutes of the game.
Maten collided with Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe while going for a rebound, which caused the injury. Maten was on the court being tended to by the Georgia training staff before limping to the locker room for observation. It didn't appear he could put much weight on his leg due to the injury.
Fox said he is awaiting more information on the severity of the injury.
“Yante has an injury, obviously, that kept him out of the game,” Fox said. “Obviously it’s a serious injury. How serious we do not know. It would’ve been nice to have him.”
For the time being, it’s unknown if this is a season-ending knee injury or one he will be able to return to the court with. Maten will receive further testing for a diagnosis, which should occur in the coming days.
Without knowing, Fox said he couldn’t comment on whether he anticipated having Maten back in the lineup in the near future. Georgia’s next game is at Alabama on Thursday.
“I really don’t know,” Fox said. “I’ll tell you this. He’s as good a kid I’ve ever coached. Our deal is we tell our parents we’ll treat them like our kids. If there is any risk he won’t play. Obviously, it’s a significant injury but we won’t know until we get the images what it is. Until we do, we’ll just pray for him.”
Without Maten, Georgia senior guard J.J. Frazier came up huge for the Bulldogs with 36 points in the loss. Forward Mike Edwards contributed 10 points, which included five quick points to begin the second half.
“We had to get in the right mindset to take his place,” Edwards said. “I appreciate Yante helping me and Derek (Ogbeide) throughout the game, telling us what we needed to work on.”
Maten entered Saturday's game as Georgia's leading scorer at 19.4 points per game. His absence for the remainder of the game would be huge, considering he scored 22 points in the two teams' first meeting.
Maten was able to return to the Georgia bench with a brace on the knee. He still appeared to be in pain and was hopping on his left leg for the most part.
Maten did not score a basket during the limited minutes he played.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari complimented Fox on what he was able to do with Georgia’s group after Maten went down with the injury.
“We were lucky to get out alive,” Calipari said. “Literally, luck to win the game. Again, we rebounded the ball well and did some good things. Let’s be real though. Maten was out.”
This was the second time in Georgia’s previous three games that it was forced to play an extended time without Maten. Early in the second half against Tennessee, Maten picked up his fourth foul and sat the majority of the second half. He picked up a fifth foul with 5:18 left to play against the Volunteers.
This time, however, Georgia could wind up being without Maten for an extended period of time. If that turns out to be the case, Frazier said he’s confident in his team moving ahead given what transpired in a close loss against Kentucky.
“The best big man in the SEC didn’t play for 38 minutes,” Frazier said. “And we were right there to win the game, we were right there to tie the game. It happens, man. I’m disappointed more than just about anybody but we gave it everything we had. At this point, it is what it is. I’ll live with it every time.”