No. 14 Louisville's Kuric out with ankle sprain
Louisville's leading scorer Kyle Kuric will not play in Saturday's game against DePaul after sustaining a high left ankle sprain in practice, coach Rick Pitino said Friday.
The senior forward was hurt early in Thursday's practice when he apparently stepped on a teammate's foot. Pitino said he's not sure how long Kuric might be out.
''When Kyle went down everybody was in shock, it was just a surprise,'' Louisville guard Chris Smith said. ''We were all surprised because Kyle never gets hurt. ... Now everybody else has to step up.''
The 14th-ranked Cardinals (13-4, 1-3 Big East) have lost four of their last five and have had seven players miss at least a game with health or eligibility issues.
Kuric is averaging 13 points and had scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games, including 11 points in a 90-59 loss to Providence on Tuesday night.
''Once you take a loss by 31 points, you have to be positive and get your team back on track,'' Smith said.
The poor performance prompted a players' only meeting and Smith said everyone was involved in airing out what's gone wrong since a 12-0 start. Louisville was ranked as high as fourth before losing against Georgetown and Kentucky.
After winning at St. John's, the Cardinals dropped a double overtime game to Notre Dame before being blown out by the Friars.
''We met without the coaches and met as just a team and we pretty much brought our heads together and pretty much resolved the problem,'' Smith said. ''The problem pretty much was a lack of confidence in each other and having each other's backs.''
Smith said the team responded with one of some of its best practices of the season even though Kuric was injured in Thursday's session.
''We know what we need to do to win and last game was pretty much a lack of effort on the whole team's behalf, but we'll never see that again,'' Smith said.
Pitino said that his team's goal now is to win nine more conference games, including the final seven at home this season before heading into the Big East tournament.
''We took a major shot with Kyle being out,'' Pitino said. ''DePaul, as we saw with Providence, is capable of beating us. So losing is not an option. We've got to win.''