Will Dean and Garcia play against Memphis?

As the Cards have reached the most difficult part of the schedule and prepare for a tough road contest against Memphis tomorrow night, will they have stars Taquan Dean and Francisco Garcia?

The University of Louisville basketball team has overcome constant adversity this season.

From injuries and family deaths to their coach's leave of absence last week, this team has had to endure and overcome enormous challenges.

They'll simply have to overcome one more hurdle tomorrow in Memphis as they'll play without one their main offensive and defensive weapons against the Tigers.

"The way I do it is to leave it up to the player and trainer to tell me if they're going to play," Pitino explained of his policy toward injuries. "Taquan thought he was near one hundred percent. He wasn't in pain. But what happened was you start compensating with other muscles trying to protect that area and it really wasn't better."

"So I don't know how long he'll be out," Pitino continued. "It could be anywhere from days to a week or two weeks. I really don't know."



Starting small forward Francisco Garcia has also been limited with a sprained ankle but sounds like he'll go tomorrow against the Tigers.

"Francisco has an ankle sprain," Pitino explained. "He's going to have some swelling most of the year. He didn't play that way [against Marquette] because his ankle was sprained. He played that way because he didn't practice for a week."

Perhaps the biggest problem for Pitino and the Cardinals is not the missed game time but the limits the injuries have created on the practice court.

"That's the biggest problem with both guys," Pitino continued. "If you don't practice basketball for seven or eight days you're going to look like they did the other night. That's why we're way out of sync is they haven't practiced at all."

So is there any way Dean might play tomorrow or is he out without question for Wednesday night's game against the Tigers?

"Yes, definitely," Pitino responded. "And I think he's doubtful for Saturday as well."

At this point, Pitino's main concern is to get his team healthy again and make a strong run late in the season and during the tournament.

"We were dealt a very serious blow last year with Ellis Myles'[injury] and it affected our team in a very big way," Pitino said. "I just want to make sure these injuries don't affect us in a very big way."

"But on the other hand," Pitino continued. "We've got to try and win and we're putting ourselves in a no win situation without those two guys with the type of schedule that we're playing. Any given night you can win, but it's very difficult for us to score without those two guys. They not only score themselves but also help others score."

With Dean out of the lineup tomorrow night, freshman Brandon Jenkins will once again be counted on to come through in a tough situation. And he won't have an easy task with veteran Tiger point guard Antonio Burks pressuring him at both ends of the court.

But we've seen it from this bunch all season. Some how, some way they find ways to overcome challenges and rise to the occasion.


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