Louisville loses Rakeem Buckles for this season and next

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Poor Louisville. Just when Wayne Blackshear finally started practicing, yet another Cardinals injury emerged. And this one pretty much erases any frontcourt depth.

Forward Rakeem Buckles tore the ACL in his left knee against Marquette and will miss the rest of this season and next season.

“I don’t think any of us could imagine this happening to such a fine young man,” coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday. “All of us are just crushed. We had thought he had just hyperextended the knee when he had turned for a simple block out and it turned out to be terribly wrong. We will stay close to Rakeem so we can keep his spirits high.”

Buckles, a 6-7 junior, tore the ACL in his right knee last season. Louisville trainer Fred Hina said on the school’s website that two major knee surgeries is the reason why Buckles’ upcoming recovery period will be so long.

He’s the eighth Louisville player to miss a game because of an injury this season, an aspect that’s become all too familiar to Pitino. Stephan Van Treese hasn’t played this season, freshman Zach Price has played in just seven games and Blackshear, a 5-star recruit, has yet to play a game. Mike Marra tore his left ACL in November.

Worse yet for the Cardinals is that the injury places even more pressure on guys like Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan, who do most of the interior work. Jared Swopshire (a guy who was injured all last season) is their only real backup.

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