By Andy Sweeney
ESPN 680 Main Producer, Host
In sports radio it's fun taking jabs at Rick Pitino and his extremely "liberal" timeline concerning injuries. Anyone remember David Padgett's 2007-08 season? Padgett fractured his right knee cap in game 2 that season against Jackson State.
Career over, right?
According to Rick Pitino, Padgett would miss at least 10 weeks and "(his) career probably is coming to an end. Because of his leadership, because of his intelligence, because of his fortitude, there are a lot of road to prosperity for him. He does have an extremely bright future. It may or may not be in basketball."
What happened less than 6 weeks later (injured 11/18, returned 1/1)? Padgett returned to the court on January 1st and played 26 minutes in his return against Cincinnati. It may be pure coincidence but we've heard this from Pitino before. But the question remains...is that what's going on here with the Gorgui Dieng injury?
Dieng broke his left wrist November 22nd against Northern Iowa and got his cast off just under two weeks ago. Since the injury, we've discussed thoroughly on ESPN 680 whether Pitino is playing coy with Gorgui's return. HE'D NEVER DO SUCH A THING! Pitino has let us into his psyche (which is terrifying) by stating he hoped the injury would be more like 3 weeks. Instead, it's looking more like 4-6 as previously stated by the doctors. At his weekly press conferece (previewing FIU), Pitino said the following:
"Gorgui's exam with the doctor didn't go as well as my optimism was. Nothing setting him back...probably the doctor's estimates, which are usually very conservative, probably are corect. It will be more like 4-6 weeks rather than the 3 weeks I hoped. I was hoping to get him on the floor for Western (Kentucky). Get him a little time and play in the Kentucky game and it doesn't look like that is going to happen. He is healing. The last x-ray we thought would be healed and it was not."
So for fans does this completely rule Dieng out for December 29th match up against Kentucky?
But it there's one thing we know is how Pitino will play with the media and not give us the whole story. And I, for one, don't blame him. I wouldn't either. Giving John Calipari something to think about leading up to the dream game could give the Cards an advantage. One thing I do know is this...in no way can I pick Louisville to stop the 3 year losing streak against Kentucky if Dieng isn't on the floor. Zach Price is not ready for UK's bigs, while Stephen Van Treese's injury situation has kept him hobbled the majority of the past two weeks. No Dieng would be fatal.
So, for me, 3 main questions remain:
- First, does Dieng miss the Kentucky game, and if so how does that affect the match up?
- Second, if he could play would short spurts provide enough and help Louisville win the game?
- Lastly, even if he does play will there be rust?
December 29th is right around the corner and without Dieng it will be hard for me to pick the Cards to stop the streak.
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