Luke Hancock closer to return

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville senior Luke Hancock, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors at last season's Final Four, is expected to return to the court within the next week after sitting out the past few weeks with an Achilles injury.

"He'll probably start playing sometime towards the end of this week," Louisville coach Rick Pitino told ESPN.com on Monday.

Pitino said an MRI that came back Monday showed Hancock's injury was nearly healed.

"If there were a game now, I would play," Hancock said.

Hancock said the injury has been bothersome since last season and that he and Pitino wanted to be conservative -- especially with the official start of practice pushed up three weeks this year.

Hancock, a transfer from George Mason, struggled the first part of last season while recovering from a shoulder injury. He missed 25 of his first 29 3-point attempts but wound up shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

Hancock had 20 points in a Final Four win over Wichita State and 22 in the Cardinals' 82-76 victory against Michigan in the national title game.