"This took two weeks longer than I thought it would but he had to make his weight," Pitino said, noting that Caracter currently is 265-pounds. "We didn't put him off the team because of his weight, we put him off because of other more serious things. He has a chance to play, but I don't know if he can help the team win."
Caracter has missed nearly all of the Cardinals Big East conference games this season. After sitting out the first three games of the season while serving an NCAA suspension, Caracter joined the team in New York for Louisville's loss to Arizona. During the Christmas break, Pitino sent Caracter home for violation of team rules and the former high school All-American has been in the doghouse ever since.
Last week, Pitino hired former Louisville star Ellis Myles to help Caracter live up to the contract he signed after his dismissal from the team. Apparently, with the aid of Myles, Caracter has finally met those guidelines and will return to the court to help Louisville try to make an NCAA tournament run during the season's final month.
"We have a very good freshman class and we want him to be a part of him," said Pitino. "Derrick is a good kid, he just does everything the wrong way. He cons himself and that's his biggest problem. Before you can make any improvement in life you have to tell the truth to yourself and he lies to himself."
The Cardinals, 6-4 in the Big East and 16-8 overall, need to make up some ground this month if they hope for a return to the NCAA tournament next month. In limited action this season, Caracter has struggled to stay out of foul trouble and has often been exposed on defense. He's averaged about 5 points and 4 rebounds this season.
"We're not giving up on him. If we don't help him now he's going to have a major problem (later)," Pitino said. "He has a lot of poor habits in a lot of areas but we are making progress."