Pitino optimistic about Palacios' return

Louisville forward Juan Palacios missed the Cardinals two games in the Big East Tourament last week and hasn't played since Feb. 17. But the 6-8 junior went through a light workout Sunday and Rick Pitino sounded optimistic about his return for the NCAA Tournament.

Louisville could get a major boost in the NCAA Tournament if 6-8 junior forward Juan Palacios can return to the court.

Palacios did not play in either of the Cardinals two Big East Tournament games and hasn't played since Feb. 17 at Marquette. However, Palacios returned to the court Sunday and Louisville coach Rick Pitino sounded optimistic about his return for the NCAA.

"I think Tello will be back," Pitino said. "He did a light workout (Sunday). If he comes back and he's not sore tomorrow I think he will play. I'll keep Earl Clark in the starting lineup, but he will play."

Clark, a 6-9 freshman, started both Big East Tournament games in Palacios' absence and turned in a solid effort, posting 17 points and nine rebounds against West Virginia and hauling down a game-high 12 rebounds against Pittsburgh.

Terrence Williams is nursing a sore groin.

Besides Palacios, who is suffering from back spasms, sophomore forward Terrence Williams, a second-team All-Big East selection, is nursing a sore groin suffered in the, 65-59, loss to Pittsburgh Friday night.

Pitino said that Williams would not have played in the Big East championship game had his team knocked off Pittsburgh in the semifinals because of the injury.

"Terrence Williams would not have been able to play against Georgetown," Pitino said. "He has a groin injury and needs two days off. I think he'll be OK, but he definitely would not have played against Georgetown. The next day he had a distinct limp."

The 6-5 Williams earned a spot on the All-Big East Tournament team, scoring 39 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and handing out 13 assists in two games.

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