In Louisville’s lone loss of the year – a 76-71 loss to Duke in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game – the Cardinals were without starting center Gorgui Dieng, who was sideline with a wrist injury.
Dieng was scheduled to be out for 4-6 weeks, requiring surgery to fix a broken scaphoid bone. However, the 6-foot-11 junior may be set for an early return, according to his coach, Rick Pitino.
C.L. Brown of the Courier-Journal is reporting that the cast is off his wrist and he has started to participate in individual workouts., in hopes of joining the team for Sunday’s practice. Although he is back on the floor, he is still is far needs to get back to form as Louisville’s defensive force inside. According to Brown, Dieng is favoring his left wrist, not dribbling with his left hand or even going up for block shots with it.
Dieng will not be available for Saturday’s game against Memphis and Pitino has already said Dieng will not suit up for Wednesday’s game against Florida International. However, his return could happen as soon next Saturday against Western Kentucky.
“He could play in the Western Kentucky game if he’s in shape,” said Pitino. “That’s the biggest thing, not the hand, if he’s in shape to play.”
Pitino would go onto say Dieng would likely go 15-18 minutes. This would give Dieng one game back in action before a Dec. 29 matchup with Kentucky. Dieng hasn’t played since Nov. 23 in a win against Missouri. The Cardinals’ big man injured his wrist, while trying to draw a charge. He was averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.4 block shots in five games for Louisville.
The Cardinals haven’t really needed Dieng since his injury, surviving an upset bid from Illinois State, followed easy wins against the College of Charleston and University of Missouir-Kansas City