Louisville’s Mathiang expected back to practice next week

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Injured Louisville big man Mangok Mathiang is expected to move closer to returning to action in the near future.

The 6-foot-10 forward is slated to return to practice next week, 10 months after suffering a broken foot, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Mathiang broke the foot last December in a game against Western Kentucky, and hasn’t been able to hit the floor without restriction since.

We are moving very slow with him to make sure that he feels confident,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said at the team’s media day Tuesday, according to the Courier-Journal, “and that he feels good about playing mentally, when you come off an injury like that.

“But sometime next week he will probably start participating and practicing, and it will probably take him two to three weeks to get back in the groove, and then he’ll be at full strength.”

That timeline puts Mathiang in position to be fully healthy by the time Louisville opens the season Nov. 11, against Evansville. Mathiang, who averaged 18.8 minutes, 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season as a junior,said he’d returned to playing in May but a setback led to having scar tissue removed and a mostly inactive summer.

“I’m feeling great compared to the first time and now,” Mathiang said. “I see a huge difference. I feel a whole lot better. My body feels great, well-rested.

“I’m just ready to get out there and help my teammates out. Coach, I give him big props for being very patient with me and just staying in my corner whenever I need him.”