Kentucky LB Avery Williamson playing through pain

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Kentucky senior Avery Williamson is pretty familiar with the view from the top of the Southeastern Conference tackles list, and this season has been no different. A 6-1, 238-pound middle linebacker, Williamson has made 42 tackles this year, 10.5 per game, which leads the SEC. But the production has come at something of a price. Williamson is playing with a cast on his left wrist, which is protecting a deep bone bruise, according to kentucky.com.

No matter.

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"It's not too bad. It's really not affecting my game that much," Williamson said. "I just want to keep it on. I mean, my wrist has been bothering me, so I don't want to injure it again. I'd rather have it on than mess it up even more."

He made 135 stops a year ago, finishing second in the league to Tennessee's A.J. Johnson, and is well on his way to amassing more than 300 for his college career. Still, UK coach Mark Stoops said wear and tear on Williamson's body isn't as concerning as it might be for a running back.

"The thing about Avery is, he's shown to be very durable since we've been here," Stoops said. "He's been an outstanding player here for a few years now. ... I don't think it's quite the same as a running back, but we need to keep him healthy. He's one of our best players."

Williamson plays his best in big games, evidenced with his 15 tackles in UK's loss to Louisville. Because of a lack of speed, Williamson isn't projected to be drafted until the late rounds, but his continued steady production may help his status.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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