Sophomore tailback Raymond Sanders is out for Saturday's game against Louisville, Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips announced after practice Thursday.
Sanders, the Wildcats' starting tailback, injured his right knee in Kentucky's 27-13 win over Central Michigan last Saturday. He was injured on the opening kickoff of the second half. He returned the kickoff 36 yards before fumbling it after being tackled.
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Sanders underwent surgery on his right knee Thursday morning. He's expected to miss 2-3 weeks.
"It's not exactly the same (as the surgery on the left knee)." Phillips said. "He didn't have any bone bruise. This will not take as long as the last one. The last one took most of the summer to get him healthy. It is the other knee."
He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on his left knee on June 16 but returned in time for fall camp.
Sanders appeared to be in good spirits after practice Wednesday. He conducted interviews as usual and seemed up-beat.
"That's the kind of player he is," his father, also named Raymond Sanders, told Cats Illustrated. "You won't know if he's hurt or not."
Through two games, Sanders had run for 97 yards on 21 carries with no touchdowns. True freshman Josh Clemons, the only other tailback to receive any carries in 2011, leads the team with 25 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Phillips said sophomore Jonathan George would likely be the next back to receive carries, though Clemons will start. George was listed third on the depth chart released Monday. He has nine career carries for 25 yards. Junior CoShik Williams has the most experience of any tailback outside of Sanders, with 38 carries for 184 yards and four touchdowns in his career.
"The game keeps moving," Phillips said. "The game doesn't stop. You lose those guys last year to graduation. We never expect guys to leave early, but the game doesn't stop for them. Raymond understands that, our football team understands that and another back has to step up. It's an opportunity and that's what we've talked about. You have to take advantage of the opportunity. We've had guys come to us and talked about playing, now they get an opportunity."
True freshman Demarco Robinson, Clemons and senior safety Mychal Bailey could replace Sanders on kickoff returns, Phillips said.