Nate Sestina to miss approximately four weeks with left wrist fracture

Graduate student transfer scheduled to have surgery Wednesday morning

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky men’s basketball forward Nate Sestina is expected to miss approximately four weeks after fracturing his left wrist in practice on Tuesday. He was scheduled to have surgery Wednesday morning.

“We haven’t been a full team in over a month,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Nate goes to shoot a layup, it gets blocked, he falls back, goes to stop himself (and) breaks his wrist/hand. He’s out … approximately four weeks. Now we regroup. Next man up.”

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Sestina, a graduate transfer from Bucknell, has played a key part in Kentucky’s 5-1 start, providing valuable on-court production, leadership and experience.

The 6-foot-9, 234-pound forward is averaging 7.3 points and 7.2 rebounds, including a double-double (12 points and 11 rebounds) vs. Eastern Kentucky and a critical 3-pointer in the second half of the win over then-No. 1/1 Michigan State.

Sestina has played 30 or more minutes in four of six games, an especially important contribution with a thin front court that was magnified with the three-game game absence of forward EJ Montgomery (Eastern Kentucky, Evansville and Utah Valley games).

Last season, his first as a starter at Bucknell, Sestina averaged 15.8 points, a team-high 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He shot 53.6% from the floor and made 41 3-pointers at a 38.0% clip. The All-Patriot Second Team selection ranked sixth in the league in scoring and second in rebounding.

Sestina scored in double figures in 27 of 31 games and posted 11 double-doubles last season. He scored 20 or more points in 10 games, including his final two games that led to Patriot League All-Tournament Team honors.

Sestina is the third graduate transfer under Calipari, joining Reid Travis from last season and Julius Mays in 2012-13. He transferred to UK to pursue a master’s degree after graduating with his undergraduate degree in geography from Bucknell.

Kentucky’s depth has been tested by a rash of injuries this season. Including freshman Dontaie Allen and redshirt freshman Zan Payne, who are working their way back from previous injuries, Sestina marks the eighth different Wildcat to suffer an injury this season.

Montgomery was out three games with a right ankle injury, sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley missed the Utah Valley game with a chest injury, sophomore guard Ashton Hagans has played through a lower right leg injury, junior forward Nick Richards missed the final exhibition game with a sprained left ankle, and freshman forward Kahlil Whitney dislocated his left pinky near the end of the Utah Valley game (he did not miss a game).

Despite the injuries, UK is among the best defensive teams in the country statistically, having held five of six opponents to less than 40% shooting. Included in the Wildcats’ five victories this season was the victory over the top-ranked Spartans to start the season, one of just three games the Wildcats have played with at least nine full-time basketball scholarship players.

“We need our fans now more than ever,” Calipari said. “Coming to games, cheering, picking these kids up. They go on a run that they don’t play well, cheer them (and) get them going. So we’re shorthanded again and your coach is saying, ‘Bring it. Let’s go.’ Remember this: There’s not one person outside the Big Blue Nation or the Commonwealth of Kentucky feeling bad for us.”

Kentucky continues its season Friday vs. UAB in Rupp Arena in the final game of the BBN Showcase. Tip is set for 7 p.m. on SEC Network.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com