Padgett done as Cards ready for DePaul

Louisville will be without starting center David Padgett tonight when the Cardinals host DePaul. Struggling to make the Big East Tournament, the Cardinals will turn to seldom used freshman Brian Johnson in Padgett's absence.

Louisville will be without David Padgett tonight when they face DePaul at Freedom Hall. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Padgett's season has come to an end. Without Padgett, Louisville's season probably isn't far from its own end.

Padgett will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee next week to repair damage to knee's joint. Brian Johnson, the Cardinals seldom used 6-9 center, will replace Padgett in the starting lineup tonight against the Blue Demons.

"For what he's had to go through this year, he's had a darn good year," Pitino said. "He shot 57 percent from the field, averaged 12 points and 6 rebounds per game, and he's done this under the most trying circumstances you can imagine."

Padgett had missed considerable practice in recent weeks and hasn't been 100 percent this season after suffering a strained knee ligament during a November scrimmage. In a loss to Syracuse last Saturday, Padgett was noticeably hobbled. He returned to practice Monday after sitting out Sunday's practice and that's when Pitino pulled the plug on Padgett's season.

"He wanted to play through this, but he hasn't practiced," said Pitino. "The problem is that the last few games, David has been 50 percent of what he was prior to that. We had an incident in practice yesterday where he couldn't go any further."

Fred Hina, U of L's trainer, said Padgett's knee problems compounded when he went down during the final minutes of the preseason scrimmage three months ago.

"That incident compounded the situation," Hina said. "That pretty much set us into this cycle. There was an opportunity for him to play to a certain extent without risking any future harm, but we've gotten to a point where his condition doesn't warrant the risk involved to his future."

Specifically, Padgett's problem rests with the patellar femoral joint.

"It will be an arthroscopic procedure," Hina said. "We know from the MRI that he's got some decent damage in there, but nothing that can't be corrected."

Hina said Padgett should be able to return to the court before the summer.

"It could be anywhere from 6-8 weeks to 2-3 months," Hina said. "It just depends on how much the procedure entails."

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