Monday, February 28, 2011

Rakeem Buckles Injury Hit Louisville Hard

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Following the Louisville Cardinals (22-7, 11-5) 62-59 upset win over the Pittsburgh Panthers (25-4, 13-3) in overtime, head coach Rick Pitino commented on the injury to sophomore Rakeem Buckles saying, "He has a sprained (right) knee."

"Normally, you'll be out for a week, in our case six to eight."

But, even coach Pitino didn't realize the certainty of the injury.

Buckles was later diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee, which means he will miss the rest of his sophomore season.

In 15 games this season, Buckles played 19.9 minutes, while averaging 7.2 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game.

Louisville will be hit hard with the loss of Buckles who usually starts for coach Pitino. 

His production on the glass, and defensive end will be hard to replace.

Buckles has shown flashes of improvement all season after having a coming out party against Cal in the tournament last season.

Buckles tallied double-digits rebounds in three games and looked great early.

The Cardinals went a 12-game stretch earlier this season with Buckles sidelined with an injury and went 7-5 without the talented sophomore.

Buckles has missed a total of 13 games this season and his presence will be missed greatly. Buckles is probably one of the more talented and improving forwards in the Big East conference.

Terrence Jennings and Gorgui Sy Dieng have both played well all season so frontcourt rotation shouldn't be a problem. Energy, rebounding and scoring in the frontcourt, however, could be an issue.

Buckles absence might open more minutes for many other frontcourt players and allow Jennings and Dieng to take a bigger role in the rebounding column, which is a strength both possesses.

For more CoHoops news follow us on Twitter (@Collegiate_Hoop) or subscribe via email