- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Kentucky will be without sophomore running back Raymond Sanders for the next two to three weeks after he aggravated a knee injury in practice.
Sanders, who started the first two games, had surgery Thursday morning to repair a sight cartilage tear, meaning a door that had already been opened for true freshman Josh Clemons just got a lot wider. Clemons will move in as the Wildcats' starting running back Saturday against Louisville.
The Wildcats are looking for any help they can get on offense. They're 11th in the SEC in total offense, averaging 267 yards per game, and have scored just five touchdowns in their first two games.
One of the few highlights has been Clemons, who had an 87-yard touchdown run last week against Central Michigan. He's averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and coach Joker Phillips is committed to getting him more touches from here on out. Clemons carried the ball 14 times for 126 yards last week and might be adding some special teams duties this week. Sanders was also the Wildcats' kickoff returner.
"He's a guy we're going to continue to give a bigger role in our offense, and we're going to ask him to play some on special teams in the return game," Phillips said. "I haven't locked in on who our return guy will be this week, and we may give him an opportunity. His role needs to expand, definitely. He's a guy who can catch the ball out of the backfield, and we need to do a little more in that area with him. He's a talented guy and very mature for a freshman."
After Louisville, Kentucky faces Florida at home the next week. The earliest Sanders would probably be able to return is the trip to LSU on Oct. 1.