On his radio show Wednesday, Rick Pitino said senior shooting guard Preston Knowles has a strained hamstring and won’t play against DePaul Saturday. Whether Knowles’ injury will be healed by next Wednesday, when the Cards face a challenging road encounter at Notre Dame, is unknown. And while it’s likely the Cards can rip the Demons without Knowles and his 14.9 scoring average, his availability for the game in South Bend is crucial.
The injuries continue to rack up for the Cards, but don’t expect Knowles to sit for long. My sources close to the training staff tell me that he will be ready by the time the Cards leave for Notre Dame. They’ll need his three-point shooting against the tough Irish defense.
Knowles was one of only four players who had played in every game this season. Pitino said that Russ Smith will probably get the start on Saturday. Also expect Tim Henderson and Elisha Justice to get more playing time in Knowles’ absence.
If the Cards do have to spend more time without Knowles, Pitino will have to pull out some coaching magic. He is receiving a lot of recognition for the Cards’ successful season, despite so many injuries. ESPN’s Pat Forde even entered Pitino into the national coach of the year conversation.
Pitino said freshman big man Gorgui Dieng isn’t “anywhere close” to returning to the team. Due to his concussion, Dieng has to pass a test that measures his memory that is compared to one he took at the beginning of the year. I expect Dieng to return for the Notre Dame game.
Congratulations are in order for sophomore point guard Peyton Siva, who was elected the “Beau” (or sweetheart) of the Beta Gamma chapter of the Delta Zeta Sorority. hes’ the second Card to earn an off-court social honor. Last fall, guard Kyle Kuric was crowned Homecoming King. I’m sure that this will generate quite the hoot in the Cardinal locker room.