(Photo of David Johnson: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When the Louisville men's basketball program takes the floor in an attempt to bounce back from their 45-point loss to North Carolina earlier this week, they will be doing so while shorthanded.
Prior to the tipoff between them and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the KFC Yum! Center, the Cardinals announced that sophomore guard David Johnson would be unavailable for the contest. The university did not specify the reason for the absence, but the Courier-Journal's Shannon Russell reports that it is not due to COVID-19.
Guard Josh Nickelberry and forward Aidan Igiehon were also declared unavailable. However, head coach Chris Mack said on Monday that he did not expect Nickelberry, who is roommates with Johnson, to play vs. Notre Dame due to a non-COVID related illness. Igiehon has also missed time for the same reason on top of a groin injury.
Due to the trio of absences, Louisville will officially be limited to just nine scholarship athletes against Notre Dame. Two of which, graduate transfer guard Charles Minlend and senior forward/center Malik Williams, are coming back from significant injuries.
Johnson is averaging 12.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists through 16 games this season. He scoring and assist marks are second on the team to Carlik Jones, while his rebounding numbers are third behind Jae'Lyn Withers and Samuell Williamson.
Louisville (11-5, 6-4 ACC) is coming off of their second prolonged pause due to the virus. Although the program did not officially paused team activities this time around, it resulted in the postponement of four games and rescheduling of another. The Cardinals were able to get back to the court last Saturday, Feb. 20 at North Carolina after a 19-day layoff.
Thanks to both pauses, as well as COVID protocols across the ACC, Louisville now has seven games that require rescheduling. The ACC Tournament is slated to begin in just two weeks on Tuesday, Mar. 9, and the program has four games left on the schedule including today vs. Notre Dame.
Tipoff between the Cardinals and Fighting Irish is set for 7:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.
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