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Keion Brooks cleared to play

Kentucky sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. has missed the first nine games of the season with a calf injury.
Kentucky sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. has missed the first nine games of the season with a calf injury. (Nelson Chenault/USA Today Sports)

Kentucky's 2021 keeps trending positive.

Sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. announced Thursday night that he has been cleared by the medical staff to play after missing the first nine games of the season due to a calf injury.

Brooks broke the news via his Twitter social media account.

It's a big boost to the Kentucky frontcourt as the Wildcats (3-6, 2-0 SEC) prepare to play at Florida (5-2, 2-1 SEC) on Saturday.

Brooks' status has been a mystery since media day, when UK coach John Calipari announced that his only returning experienced player on the roster would miss "two to three weeks." It wound up being close to seven, and the Cats experienced an almost historic six-game losing streak in his absence.

Kentucky has been rotating Olivier Sarr, Isaiah Jackson, Lance Ware, and Jacob Toppin in the frontcourt with the first three experiencing serious foul trouble at times.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Brooks averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in a reserve role for UK as a freshman.

Ironically, one of his best games of the season came in the final game of the Covid-shortened campaign for the Cats. Brooks scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds, and recorded two steals as UK rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Gators in the regular-season finale at Gainesville.