Swopshire returns to action

Jared Swopshire returned to the court in Wednesday's exhibition against Pikeville for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Jared Swopshire returned to the court in Wednesday's exhibition against Pikeville for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

A 6'7 junior, Swopshire missed all of last season with a groin injury that required two surgeries to fix. Swopshire played 12 minutes, grabbing five rebounds to go along with two points and an assist.

"I'm fighting through mentally just being comfortable on the court again and physically just soreness and tightness and the inflammation of having two surgeries," Swopshire said. "That's what I'm fighting through right now, but I feel like I'm progressing day-by-day."

Swopshire has now played in two scrimmages, plus the exhibition against Pikeville. Though he's experienced soreness after games, Swopshire's endurance is rounding back into shape.

"It (groin) did well," Swopshire said. "I was sore afterward, but I feel like it did well. I feel like I took steps forward just fighting through the soreness and tightness. So my muscle endurance has definitely increased from playing in those (three) games."

Rick Pitino said earlier this week that Swopshire isn't close to his pre-injury form. How close is he to getting back to his old form?

"I have no idea," he said. "I don't know how my body is going to respond to everything, but I would hope soon."

A starter before his injury, Swopshire says he's willing to play any role to help Louisville win games this season.

"I'm a leader on this team, whatever it takes for us to win," Swopshire said. "If I have to go in and grab double-digit rebounds that's something I'm going to do. If it's locking down a key player on another team that's what I'm going to do. So just basically helping this team win."

A freshman on Louisville's NCAA Elite Eight team in 2009, Swopshire compared that team to Pitino's current squad, which opens the season ranked #8 nationally.

"We had a little bit more talent on that team, but I feel like this team is a little bit closer," said Swopshire. "The guys are willing to work hard so the sky is the limit for this team."


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