Talk about a lousy 24 hours for Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals. First, the number-two team in the nation suffered their first loss of the season to Duke (certainly a worthy opponent) on Saturday evening, but the real bad news broke Sunday night, when it was revealed that their fierce shot-blocking center, Gorgui Dieng, has been diagnosed with a broken wrist.
According to SB Nation’s Card Chronicle, Dieng broke his left wrist on Friday night when the Cardinals destroyed Missouri in the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinal round. It’s being reported that the man responsible for breaking Pervis Ellison’s single-season block record just a year ago will be out for an undetermined period, but Pitino said on Saturday that if Dieng’s wrist was in fact broken, he’d most likely miss four-to-six weeks.
Averaging 8.2 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game, you could make the case that the Cards sorely missed Dieng during their first loss of the season, especially seeing how Duke big Mason Plumlee went for 16 points and seven rebounds. Surprisingly though, Louisville still managed to win the battle on the glass, outrebounding Duke 38-33 in the loss.
Dieng is one of, if not the most important player on a team with lofty expectations for this season. The only good things about this injury are that Dieng’s absence from the lineup will allow more minutes for Pitino to play freshman forward Montrezl Harrell, and the other being that Louisville only has two games left against ranked teams – unfortunately one of which will be hosting hated rival Kentucky on December 29 – before they begin the Big East season on January 2. There’s no telling whether or not Dieng will be back by then, but his team is talented enough to stay within the top 10 with or without him.
We’ll keep you posted with a timetable regarding the injury.
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