Palacios could play against New Mexico State

Louisville senior forward Juan Palacios could see his first action of the 2007-08 season Saturday afternoon in the Billy Minardi Classic against New Mexico State.

Juan Palacios could see his first action of the 2007-08 season Saturday afternoon against New Mexico State.

Palacios, who injured his knee during preseason practice, returned to practice Thursday and could be ready to give it ago against the Aggies.

"I was surprised that he practiced," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "He looked real good and he wants to play (today). The thing that shocked me the most was that he got right in there and mixed it up. So I'll make a game-time decision on him. The fact that he wants to play is a good sign."

Juan Palacios returned to practice this week.

Palacios, a 6'8 forward, would help Louisville's depth problems in the front court. The Cardinals have been hampered by injuries to Palacios and 6'11 David Padgett early in the season. Palacios can provide minutes at either power forward or small forward.

"It helps us because he can back up T-Will and Earl," Pitino said. "He'd be a sixth-man on the basketball team and a valuable guy off the bench that gives us a spark."

The Cardinals are coming off an 85-75 win over Marshall. Pitino says his team is getting healthier and is showing signs of improvement. One area that Pitino wants to see more improvement is in transition, particularly on defense. Pitino says his team needs to learn how to communicate better.

"When you lose three games early on you don't have a lot of room for error because the Big East is so tough," Pitino said. "But we're improving and getting better. We've got to improve our transition defense because it lost us the BYU and Dayton games and was not very good in the Marshall game. Our transition defense is our biggest weakness."

In New Mexico State (5-8), the Cards face a struggling opponent. The Aggies, coached by former Louisville assistant Marvin Menzies, are coming off an 83-69 loss to rival New Mexico. Today, Menzies will be without starting center Hatilla Pasos (10 points, 7 rebounds) and reserve guard Paris Carter. The two were suspended after the Aggies loss to New Mexico earlier in the week.

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