What is it about UK injuries and South Carolina game?

Loyal reader Anthony wants to know what is it with the South Carolina game and Kentucky season-ending injuries?

He reminds me that in now four of the last five years, a Kentucky player has been lost for the season because of an injury suffered against the Gamecocks.

In 2008: Kentucky wide receiver Dicky Lyons, Jr. had his career ended when he tore the posterior cruciate ligament and a medial collateral ligament in the Cats’ 24-17 loss to the Gamecocks at Commonwealth Stadium.

The H-L’s Chip Cosby wrote, “Lyons suffered the injury in the second quarter of UK’s 24-17 loss to South Carolina Saturday when he came down awkwardly after an 8-yard catch to the Gamecocks 2-yard line.”

Lyons had made 33 catches his senior season. At the time of his injury, he was UK’s fifth all-time leading receiver.

In 2009: Quarterback Mike Hartline suffered torn cartilage and a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee after coming down awkwardly in UK’s 28-26 loss to South Carolina in Columbia. Up to that point, the Ohio native was having probably his best game as a Wildcat.

True freshman Morgan Newton took over as quarterback, leading UK to an eventual bowl game. Hartline tried to return lat in the year, but ended up having season-ending surgery two games before the end of the regular season.

In 2011: Running back Josh Clemons suffered a torn meniscus in his knee during Kentucky’s 54-3 loss at South Carolina and was lost for the season.

As I wrote into today’s column: “Up to that point, he was UK’s leading rusher with 279 yards and owned an 87-yard touchdown run against Central Michigan. Expected back this year, alas he experienced swelling during fall camp, underwent more surgery and is being redshirted.”

In 2012: On just UK’s second offensive play in what turned out to be a 38-17 loss to visiting South Carolina, starting quarterback Maxwell Smith suffers what we now know was a damaged ligament in his left ankle when being sacked by 316-pound South Carolina defensive tackle Byron Jerideau.

The sophomore from California will undergo surgery and is likely out for the season. Joker Phillips said Monday that if Smith does not return, UK will apply for a medical redshirt on his behalf as now the reigns are being turned over to true freshmen Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles.

Smith had missed the previous game at Florida with a sprained throwing shoulder. He had been completing 68.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

What is it about the South Carolina game?

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