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While UofL basketball coach Rick Pitino’s hyperbole is becoming as annoying as the people who post pictures of their dinner on Facebook (seriously, unless you got a fried chicken head in your KFC bucket, no one cares), the Godfather is not over-exaggerating when he claims some of his players are wearing helmets in practice.

That’s true. Pitino has some of the Cardinals donning those MMA sparring helmets on the practice floor. Pitino has come under tons of scrutiny over the years for working his players too hard in those practices, leading some to believe it’s the cause of a litany of abrasions, sprains and outright tears of things that help you walk and stuff.

Five players have missed time so far with injuries and while Pitino says he’s been forced to go “light” in practices, you have to wonder just how light if protective head gear is involved.

Pitino was able to piece together lineups to lead his team to a 6-0 start. We’ll see if 20th-ranked Vanderbilt will be able to figure out the Cardinal randomness Friday night at the Yum! Center.

Vandy is suffering from its own injury issue. Center Festus Ezeli, obviously the son of the world’s biggest Gunsmoke fan, has been sidelined with a knee injury. That could be the cause of the Commodores pitiful start after being ranked 7th in the preseason. Or someone may have told the Commodores it’s March already and it’s time to underperform for the 17th straight year.

Either way, Friday’s game could be UofL’s toughest test so far…unless Pitino has another few “light” practices scheduled before then.

Photo: Courtesy Ringside.com


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About John Lewis

John has covered sports all over Kentucky for nearly 20 years, from the mountains of his native eastern Kentucky to the flatlands of western Kentucky, and for the past dozen years, here in Louisville. Yes, he really likes both UK and UofL. He is a long-suffering Seattle Seahawks fan.

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