George, whom Pitino has called the teams top interior defender, re-aggravated a stress-fracture in his foot against UAB last Friday in the C-USA semifinals that kept him out of several games earlier this season. George played well in a quarterfinal match-up last Thursday against TCU, finishing with 11 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes against the Horned Frogs before suffering the injury the next day against the Blazers.
George then missed Louisville's 75-74 thriller over Memphis in Saturday's final, and his status for this Friday's first-round NCAA game against 13-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette is questionable.
The 6-8 senior hasn't practiced this week, and Pitino said Wednesday that George is wearing a protective boot on his foot. Though Pitino didn't sound overly optimistic about George's return for the match-up with the Ragin' Cajuns, he said he's hopeful his he will be available.
"He's not practicing right now, and his foot is in a boot," Pitino said. "Hopefully, he'll be out of the boot for Friday's game."
Asked if he thought George might see limited minutes in the first-round, Pitino said that would be a bonus for his team.
"Whatever we can (get out of him)," Pitino lamented. "Anything's a bonus."
Despite the injury to George and his questionable status, the Cardinals have proven they can win without him - though they're much deeper and a better defensive club when he's on the court. Pitino's team hasn't been slowed by injuries all season, and it doesn't sound like he expects them to succumb now with so much at stake.
"We've had Taquan with mono, Otis with two stress-fractures, Ellis with a broken thumb, and Tello with a blown out eye," recounted Pitino.
"But this has been a fascinating season," Pitino said. "Our injury situation has been well documented how bad it's been. But we've still been able to overcome it and win."
Pitino said his team is confident, with or without George.
"Our atmosphere will be at ease," Pitino said. "We're very confident, we're very hungry, and we're very respectful of our opponent. We know who we are."