Another injury; Dieng out against Providence?

The injury bug continues to plague No. 15 Louisville (15-3, 4-1), as freshman center Gorgui Dieng could miss Saturday's game at Providence because of an ankle injury sustained during practice this week.

Add another name to the injury report for the University of Louisville basketball team.

This time, it's freshman center Gorgui Dieng, who sprained an ankle in practice this week and "probably" will not play Saturday at Providence.

While Dieng's name is added to the injury report, junior center Terrence Jennings, who missed the St. John's game with a hip injury, should be ready to play against the Friars.

"Gorgui sprained an ankle in practice, it's not severe," Pitino said. "We've taken Jennings off the IR and we may put Gorgui on it. So we trade one for the other."

No. 15 Louisville (15-3, 4-1) vs.
Providence (11-8, 0-6)

Date: Saturday, Jan. 22 ; 5 p.m.
Where: Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, R.I. (12,410)
TV: ESPNU will televise the game, with Beth Mowins (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (color) calling the action.
Radio: WHAS (840 AM) will broadcast the game on radio, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Doug Ormay (color) calling the action.
Next UofL Game: Wednesday, Jan. 26 vs. West Virginia, KFC Yum! Center, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Storyline: Injury-plagued Louisville could be without center Gorgui Dieng when they travel to Providence Saturday. The Cardinals are looking to ‘sweep' their second three-game Big East segment against the Friars, who are 0-6 during league play.
Cardinal Keys: If Dieng can't play Louisville's thin frontcourt needs to stay out of foul trouble. Terrence Jennings, Stephen Van Treese and George Goode also need to keep Bilal Dixon off the boards. Louisville also needs strong offensive production from Preston Knowles, Chris Smith and Kyle Kuric, and steady playmaking from Peyton Siva. Defensively, Louisville needs to slow high-scoring Marshon Brooks, and contain point guard Vincent Council, who leads the league in assists.

Dieng is the latest casualty for Pitino's team. Jared Swopshire had surgery to repair a groin injury and is out for the season. Rakeem Buckles could be out three more weeks with a finger injury, and Mike Marra, who has a sprained ankle, is "starting to practice on a limited basis and probably won't play" against Providence, according to Pitino. In total, eight players have missed games because of injury this season.

The good news for Louisville is that Providence has struggled mightily since league play began. The Friars have lost six straight games, including a 79-72 loss to USF Jan. 16. At 0-6 in the Big East, Providence desperately needs a league win.

"They were up four with a 1:30 left against Pitt and they're certainly capable because of their offensive firepower of beating anybody," Pitino said. "They're going to beat some Big East teams. They've just played a very tough [early] schedule. We hope it's not us."

Four of Providences six Big East losses have come on the road, two at the hands of team's ranked in the Top 5 nationally. Despite their current skid, Providence is a dangerous foe. The Friars average nearly 78 points per game and rank 22nd nationally in blocked shots.

Senior forward Marshon Brooks is second in the Big East in scoring at 23.4 points, while point guard Vincent Council averages 14.3 points and leads the Big East in assists (6.5 per game). 6-9 center Bilal Dixon is fifth in the Big East at 8.5 rebounds per game.

"If it wasn't for Kemba Walker he'd probably be the guy that would be the MVP of the league right now," Pitino said of Brooks. "He patterns himself after Kobe Bryant. It's kind of scary. He tries to copy all his mannerisms."

Providence has had all week to prepare for Louisville, the same as Marquette did last week. Pitino is hoping that doesn't mean his team will fall behind by 18, like they did against the Golden Eagles before coming back for a 71-70 win.

"They've had a week to prepare," Pitino said. "They'll press. We'll see things like triangle and twos, box and one. They're second in the league in steals. They're very active. They're explosive offensively. They're outstanding in transition. They're a good dribble-drive team. They'll be well prepared for us. We won't be as well prepared for them."

Before Big East play began, Pitino divided the 18-game league schedule into six three-game segments to keep his team in a positive frame of mind during the grueling conference race. Louisville's goal was to win two of three games in each segment, which would give them 12 league wins. Louisville went 2-1 in their first segment, and could finish the second segment 3-0 with a win over Providence.

"We realize that there are going to be some segments where we're going to be one out of three," Pitino said. "You've got to hope for a sweep here because we realize coming up there are going to be some segments where we go one out of three."

Pitino was also pleased with sophomore point guard Peyton Siva's performance in Louisville's 88-63 win over St. John's this week. After struggling against Marquette, Siva recorded a double-double with 10 points, a season-high 10 assists and also had seven steals on defense.

"He played a terrific game," Pitino said. "He studied the [Marquette] film and realized he was penetrating too deep and he came back and played like a point guard should. He really had a great game."

Pitino also updated Jared Swopshire's status, who had surgery to repair a groin injury that has sidelined him all season.

"Swop is back from surgery, everything went well," Pitino said. "He'll probably be out three months."

Mike Hughes started in 2002, when he joined the Network. During the past nine years, has earned a reputation as the unrivaled source for Louisville Cardinal fans, and is the most popular UofL fan website on the Internet.

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