Antonita Slaughter cleared to play

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville senior guard Antonita Slaughter was cleared to return playing after collapsing during a game last month because of a blood clot.

Friday's announcement marks a stunning turnaround for Slaughter, whom Cardinals coach Jeff Walz had said would miss the remainder of the season after she collapsed on the bench against Missouri State on Dec. 3. The 6-foot-1 Louisville native was hospitalized for several days and tests revealed a blood clot requiring blood thinners.

Further tests at the Mayo Clinic determined the clot had cleared and that Slaughter no longer required medication. She returned to practice Thursday with the No. 7 Cardinals (14-1), and Walz said she could play against Cincinnati on Saturday.

"We're thrilled to have Antonita back, but more importantly, we're thrilled that she is OK," the coach said.

"It's going to take a while. ... It's not something where she'll just jump back and be out there playing 25, 30 minutes a game. She's gone an entire month of no activity."

Slaughter, a starter who played a key role in Louisville's run to last spring's NCAA final, was the Cardinals' fifth-leading scorer (9.3 points) and most consistent 3-point shooter when her illness was discovered. She said in a statement that she was "excited" about resuming her career once thought to be in jeopardy.

"After being away the last month, I realized how much I love the game of basketball," the player said. "I am grateful for the opportunity to return and being able to contribute to my team. I am looking forward to competing with my team and picking up where we left off last year."