Dean says injury shouldn't hold him back

Ninth-ranked Louisville didn't miss a beat Monday night against UC Davis without senior guard Taquan Dean in the lineup. But the Cardinals will need a healthy Dean when Pittsburgh comes to town this Sunday.

Ninth-ranked Louisville (13-2, 1-1) didn't need senior guard Taquan Dean in the lineup Monday night to knock off UC Davis. But that won't be the case against Pittsburgh this weekend.

The Panthers have jumped out to an impressive start this season. They're 12-0 entering Thursday nights game against DePaul, including a win over No. 23 Wisconsin, and are one of the most surprising stories in the Big East this year.

"Pitt is very similar to Cincinnati," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "They are a terrific ball club and they are so physical."

Louisville hopes to have the 6-3 Dean back against the Panthers Sunday. Dean missed Monday's 81-58 win over UC Davis with an ankle sprain suffered in the Cardinals Big East road win over Providence last Saturday. He sounded pretty confident Monday that he'd be back on the court against Pitt.

"It's alright," Dean said in the locker room after the game Monday night. "It's a little sore, but it's nothing that is going to hold me down."

Pitino said during his post-game press conference Monday that he wasn't sure whether or not Dean would return for practice Tuesday. The Cardinals will take the day off today, before resuming their preparations for Sunday's Big East game against Pittsburgh. Pitino hopes the time off this week will give Dean's ankle plenty of time to heal.

"We will take off Thursday and hopefully he can get two good practices in after that," Pitino said.

Without Dean, Louisville played one of its best games of the year against UC Davis. Junior guard Brandon Jenkins scored a career-high 31 points, hitting 7-9 3's.

"He gets better each game, and that's good to see," said Dean. "We played great and that gives everybody confidence going into Sunday."

Pitino said his team has a lot of confidence heading into Sunday's important league matchup against the Panthers.

"We are playing with good confidence right now with two wins on the road over Miami and Providence," Pitino said.

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