NCAA BK

Jones out for No. 18 Louisville vs. Houston

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)

Louisville junior point guard Chris Jones won't play for the No. 18 Cardinals Thursday night against Houston because of an injured oblique muscle.

Coach Rick Pitino said Wednesday that the 5-foot-10 Jones, the team's No. 3 scorer at 11.3 points per game, ''tweaked'' the muscle while throwing a long pass to freshman teammate Terry Rozier in the first half of Sunday's victory over SMU. He had two points and three assists in 14 minutes but played just one minute in the second half of the 71-63 victory.

Jones, a junior college transfer who has started 13 of 16 games, missed last month's contest against Western Kentucky with a wrist injury and also has hurt his ankle.

Pitino didn't say how long Jones would be out but said the injury is ''like a hamstring of the side and that can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks'' to heal, depending on its severity.

Rozier will start for Louisville (14-3, 3-1 American Athletic Conference), which will also use junior forward Wayne Blackshear as a reserve against the Cougars (10-6, 2-1). Blackshear has struggled with foul trouble in four of the past five games, with three disqualifications including Sunday.

''Wayne is being taken out of games quickly,'' said Pitino, who questioned some of the blocking fouls called against the 6-5 small forward. ''The one thing we've got to do is get 20 to 25 minutes out of him, and I think coming off the bench will help him immensely.''

Pitino also announced the promotion of assistant coach Kevin Keatts to associate head coach. Keatts joined Louisville in April 2011 after going 262-17 with two national prep championships in two stints totaling 10 seasons at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

Keatts also produced 103 Division I signees as Hargrave's coach. He interviewed for several coaching vacancies last summer but said that he returned to the Cardinals this season because ''it wasn't the right time and place'' to become a head coach.

''I'm very happy here,'' he said. ''We're coming off two Final Fours and won a national championship. ... and certainly, I wanted to do another year under coach Pitino.''

Tagged: Louisville

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