When Louisville small forward Terrence Williams went down with a knee injury two weeks ago, Cardinals coach Rick Pitino feared the worst. But initial tests confirmed Wiilliams' injury was not a torn ACL, rather a slightly torn meniscus. Because it was not an ACL the recovery time was slated for just four to six weeks (instead of months with an ACL).
And Williams, Louisville's 6-foot-6 senior small forward, has been champing at the bit for two weeks to get back onto the court.
"He's always on the court shooting around," fellow senior Andre McGee said Thursday. "He's been begging trainer Fred Hina to let him play."
Louisville's first game isn't until Nov. 22, still more than three weeks away, but Pitino said Thursday Williams is very close to being cleared for action.
"He's about a week away from practicing," Pitino said.
McGee, Williams' roommate in Minardi Hall, concurs.
"He's looking fine," McGee said. "He's been telling me that it isn't swelling much, which is a good sign because I had the same injury. He'll be back in no time."
Williams was second on the team in scoring last season with 11.1 points per game. He also led the team in field goals (146), assists (161) and minutes played (35.9 per game), was second on the team in rebounds (7.2), three-pointers (49) and steals (48). Williams is the team's on-court leader.
"We miss him a lot," McGee said. "He's so vocal and he's such a leader that he makes everybody step their level of play up. Just his presence out there is needed for us because he's been here so long and does so many different things. Having one of our co-captains out has been a tough blow."
Pitino said he notices Williams' absence in practices.
"I'm hopeful that when T-Will comes back he will bring that defensive intensity back with him," Pitino said. "...because we definitely need that right now."
The Cardinals will face NAIA Georgetown Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Freedom Hall. The game will be televised by WHAS-11 and will be re-broadcast on some Big East TV affiliates. Check your local listings.
Williams is expected to miss this weekend's exhibition, next weekend's exhibition against Northern Kentucky and will be back for Louisville's first game, a Nov. 22 tilt against Morehead State at Freedom Hall.
"He won't play against Northern Kentucky, but we'll put him into drills and get him actively involved," Pitino said. "We'll put him into non-contact drills, and then after the exhibition games I think he'll be ready to go."