Could Otis George return sooner than expected?

University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino said the biggest obstacle preventing 6-8 senior forward Otis George, the Cardinals top frontcourt reserve, from returning to action is mental and not physical at this point.

Late last week, word out of the University of Louisville basketball camp was that reserve forward Otis George would miss 3-5 weeks of action with an injured foot.

However, following Saturday's 74-70 win over Florida on the road, in which George did not play, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino seemed to indicate that the 6-8 senior might return to action sooner than earlier anticipated, possibly returning to the court within the next ten days.

"We really don't know [when he might return]," Pitino said of George Monday afternoon. "He's still walking with a limp and that's the worst thing about [his injured foot]."

"Right now he has no stress fracture and nothing wrong with his foot but he's limping," Pitino continued. "So mentally we've got to get him over the limping, that's the first thing."

With Saturday's showdown with rival Kentucky right around the corner, George's presence on the court would be a welcomed addition to a U of L frontcourt that is currently undersized and undermanned.

And even though Louisville knocked off Florida over the weekend without George in the lineup, the Cardinals were soundly beaten on the boards and had virtually no answer for stopping the Gators 6-9 David Lee, who finished with a double-double.

George, CBS' Player of the Game last season after posting 13 points and 8 rebounds against Kentucky in U of L 65-56 victory, could certainly help U of L against the Wildcats deep and physical frontline. And while it's doubtful he'd be able to return to action that soon, it wouldn't be shocking either if he did.

"The swelling is gone and the foot is healthy but he's not ready to play because he hasn't practiced in two and a half weeks."

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