UK FOOTBALL | Melvin Lewis out for the rest of the regular season

10/19/2015 05:47 PM

LEXINGTON — Kentucky football head coach Mark Stoops confirmed what Big Blue Nation feared on Monday, announcing starting nose guard Melvin Lewis will miss the rest of the regular season after fracturing his fibula in UK’s 30-27 loss to Auburn over the weekend.

  • “Melvin will get operated on tomorrow, and he will be out for the season,” Stoops said during his weekly press conference Monday afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium. “We need to try to win a few games down the stretch here and give him an opportunity to try to come back and play one last time [in a bowl game] for the Blue and White.
  • “It’s normally about a six-week procedure as I understand. So he is getting surgery tomorrow and we are not counting on him for the remainder of the regular season.”

Lewis, a senior and junior college transfer from Compton, CA, suffered the injury in a scrum while wrestling down an Auburn ball carrier just before halftime.

The 6-foot-4, 332-pound senior laid on the field for several minutes before two trainers helped him to his feet, supporting Lewis under each arm as he gingerly limped into the locker room.

Sophomore Matt Elam replaced Lewis in the second half, tying his season high with six tackles, and Stoops said the former five-star recruit is prepared to log heavy minutes in Lewis’ absence.

  • “Matt will be ready,” Stoops said. “This will be a great opportunity for him, and Matt will do well and rise to the occasion. I thought he did a nice job Saturday, coming in there, because Matt is very close with Melvin, and they are very tight off the field as well. Matt really looks up to Melvin, and Matt was disappointed that he got hurt, but he will step in and do a good job.”

Stoops also mentioned the mental effect an injury can have on a team, especially an injury to a team leader like Melvin Lewis.

  • “Injuries and all of that. They see it and it is part of the game, just like Melvin’s. Yesterday, I went and saw Melvin and it is hard. It is really hard to see you lose a guy like that … because Melvin has worked his tail off. He has overcome a bunch of adversity. He cares so much. He has worked his tail off. He is playing great football. He is a big part of the heart and soul of our defense, and to see him and what that means to him — it is very difficult. All of us have to move on very quickly, but it is still very personal when it comes to a guy like Melvin and losing a guy like that.”

Click below to watch KSTV’s discussion on how Lewis’ injury will affect the defense and whether or not Matt Elam is ready to step up at the nose guard position:


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