It's not a good time for a bad injury and Rick Pitino knows it.
Pitino's University of Louisville basketball team will open ACC play on Sunday night and will "more than likely" be without the services of fifth-year point guard Trey Lewis, who suffered a bad sprain of his ankle on Friday.
The game is slated for an 8 p.m. tip at the KFC Yum Center.
Pitino said on Friday - before Lewis' ankle injury happened in practice - that he expected freshman Donivan Mitchell to start in Lewis' spot because of a lingering heel injury. But not it appears the Cardinals won't have Lewis at all.
On his blog on Saturday, Pitino asked for the fans help.
"We are behind the eight ball with no backup point," he said. "We will see with practice what to do. (David) Levitch is option one. Ryan (McMahon) off red shirt option two. There is no foreseeable third option. Get ready. We need you !!!"
Pitino called the opener against Wake Forest a "very tough challenge."
The Demon Deacons are 9-3 this season with wins over UCLA, Indiana, LSU and Arkansas. Devin Thonas, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds, in a loss to Louisville last season in Winston-Salem, leads the Demon Deacons.
"Wake Forest has almost every player back plus three that played in last year’s game," Pitino said. "We had a difficult time with (Devin) Thomas last year and we don’t have one guy that scored a point in that game last year.
"So they’re a much, much better basketball team. We’re a different basketball team than last year."
Freshman Bryant Crawford, who the Cardinals' recruited, is averaging 13.9 points a game and has been a steallr threat from outside for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have three players scoring in double figures.
Pitino said he had hoped his team would be 12-1 heading into conference play and noted 11-2 "is where we're at and I'm pleased with how far we have come," but noted the Cardinals can get better on defense.
The Hall of Fame coach said the Cardinals made 45 "minor mistakes" in the 75-73 loss to Kentucky. He said that "is a high number for us."
"Usually it’s in the twenties," he said. "Those things are, like, when you set a moving screen, or when you don’t use the screen, or when you’re running a pick and roll you go wide and don’t use the screen. You’re an offensive rebounder, you don’t get away from the person’s back.
"You’re a person who catches the ball and you’re being pressured, you pivot, pivot, pivot, you don’t throw the ball away. If you’re running against the press you don’t run to the corner and get trapped. So we had 45 little mistakes in that game that really add up."
Pitino said Quentin Snider will bounce back after a tough game against UK and noted freshman Ray Spalding is getting better and Deng Adel is "coming along" just fine. The Cardinals will also again be without Mangok Mathiang, who had surgery on his broken foot last month and is not expected until mid-to-late February.
"There are no easy wins in the ACC," Pitino said. "Even the teams that are a little down, there’s a couple at the bottom that are down, they’re starving for a win so much that they’re going to play really, really hard.
"We’re the type of basketball team, if we think we’re going to be special in March, we’ve got to take care of business now."