Louisville freshman Wayne Blackshear was going to be a major part of the Cardinals' 2011-12 season. He was a prized top-30 recruit and a McDonald's All-American, and his mixture of athletic scoring and rebounding could have been a crucial complement to point guard Peyton Siva in Louisville's backcourt.
That potential seemed to be lost last week, when Blackshear suffered a torn labrum. The initial diagnosis indicated that the Louisville guard would miss the entire 2011-12 season. It wasn't a devastating loss, but it was a major hit. In Pitino's own words, his team with Blackshear could be "extremely good;" without Blackshear, it was merely "very good."
Fortunately for Cardinals fans, there is some good news to report: On Tuesday, Pitino told the media that Blackshear, who underwent surgery to repair the torn labrum this week, could return to the lineup within six to eight weeks:
“If this happened to like a Zach Price you wouldn’t worry about this season -- you’d just bring him along slow and redshirt him,” Pitino said in a phone interview. “But with Wayne Blackshear there’s no reason to redshirt him -- you just play him when he’s ready to play.”
It may be a slow recovery process, but there's no question Blackshear's new diagnosis is hugely positive. His impact on the Cardinals aside, Louisville has been beset by injuries in the preseason. After Siva suffered a concussion in practice this week, he became the eighth Louisville player to miss some portion of practice time in the two weeks since practice kicked off. Literally and figuratively, the appropriate phrase here is "ouch."