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UK loses starting QB indefinitely

Kentucky quarterback Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely, likely for the rest of the season, after undergoing surgery for a torn ligament in his left ankle.

Maxwell Smith is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in ankle

Smith was knocked out on the second play of the Wildcats' loss to South Carolina on Saturday night. He was helped off the field and carted to the locker room before returning to the sideline on crutches. The coaching staff received official word of the severity of the injury on Monday morning. If he does not return this season UK will apply for a medical hardship at the end of the 2012 season.

“He's down, obviously,” UK coach Joker Phillips said. “He worked his tail off to get in the position to be playing college football. Not only has he worked hard to be able to play, he's playing at a high level also.”

Phillips said Jalen Whitlow will likely start this Saturday against Mississippi State, but the staff intends to play both Whitlow and Patrick Towles the rest of the season. That means Kentucky's top two quarterbacks are now true freshmen.

“The team we're about to play has no idea what they're about to get,” Phillips said. “We really don't know what we're about to get but we're going to go for it.

“Everybody thinks it's easy (to get play a freshman). It's difficult to get a true freshman ready to play with all the things that are involved, especially some of the defenses we see. You don't really know until they get into the games what they feel comfortable (with).”

Whitlow entered the game when Smith went down against South Carolina and looked impressive as the Cats took a 17-7 halftime lead but struggled mightily in the second half, completing just 4-of-10 passes for 43 yards and two interceptions while being sacked four times after the break.

Towles was slated to redshirt the 2012 season before Smith's injury forced the staff to rethink its plan for the high school All-American. The Fort Thomas Highlands product has been considered the future of the position for Kentucky but he may also need to be the program's present with seven games remaining this season.

“We're going to play them both,” Phillips said. “(Towles) came here to play so he's excited. I think it's best to play him. In this game of football something can happen. We understand that.”

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