Padgett ahead of schedule

David Padgett's rehab is ahead of schedule. That's good news for Louisville fans after watching the Cardinals suffer through an injury-plaqued 2005-06 season that ended in the NIT. Padgett spoke with reporters Wednesday night about his progress during a Cardinal Caravan stop at Captain's Quarters.

University of Louisville starting center David Padgett should return to the court very soon.

The Cardinals leading returning scorer, Padgett said Wednesday night at the Cardinal Caravan at Captain's Quarters that he spends two or three hours per day rehabilitating his surgically repaired knees. And while the road to recovery is rarely fun, the 6'11 junior seems to be making the best of it.

"It gets a little tedious and boring, but it's what I need," he said. "I'm riding the bike pretty hard, swimming a lot and doing a lot of exercises that I couldn't do (before)."

It won't be long before Padgett get back on the court. He expects to resume playing sometime early next month.

"It should be another month before I get back on the court," Padgett said. "My rehab is going a lot better than expected. I'm ahead of schedule and I'm doing really well.

And while getting healthy and back on the court have been Padgett's primary focus the past few months, he understands he needs to become a more prominent leader before the start of the 2006-07 season.

"I've got to try to be a leader," Padgett said. "I think we lacked a little leadership last year, mainly because of me. I mean, coach made me a captain and I really didn't do a great job with that. So I've got to try to do that, especially with four freshmen coming in."

Coming off a disappointing 21-13 season that ended in the NIT semifinals, Padgett said the struggles he and his teammates experienced in their first Big East season should pay dividends next year.

"Going into this year we'll have a lot better idea what to expect and the results should be a lot better," Padgett said. "We had a lot of close games down the stretch. Like I said, we'll know what to expect this year, which is huge. We won't be newcomers."

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