Is there a team in the country that has been hit harder with injuries? In the weeks leading up to what should be a very promising season, Louisville just can't seem to shake the bug.
Guard Peyton Siva spent time recovering from a concussion. Forward Stephan Van Treese is out with a knee injury. Forward Rakeem Buckles is, too. Highly touted freshman recruit Wayne Blackshear required surgery on his shoulder; he may return as early as December but could also miss much of the season if his recovery progresses slowly.
Louisville may now add guard Mike Marra to this list, no matter how much it would rather not do so. On Sunday, Marra tore his ACL in the Cardinals' 68-48 win over Lamar, the school announced Sunday night. Typical recovery time, as you no doubt know, is nine to 12 months. Marra is certainly lost for the season and will face a recovery that could take him all the way to the start of the 2012-13 season next fall. As the Associated Press reported Sunday night, Marra knew something was up right away; he heard his knee pop and the bone come out of the socket, or at least that's what it felt like.
"You heard the screaming, that was the worst part," Marra said. "It felt like literally my bone came out of the socket and then it popped right back in. It was pretty scary. Once the initial 'scary' got over, I calmed down a little bit. I was OK."
Marra was initially diagnosed with a sprained knee, but additional testing performed Sunday night revealed it was worse than even that.
It's a brutal loss for Louisville, not so much because Marra is a star -- he's a decent role player who defends well, basically -- but because of the sheer volume of injuries afflicting this team. The only upside, if there is one, is that Rick Pitino's team has more depth than most; the combination of his ensemble cast from last year and the batch of new freshmen this year gives his team more options than most when it comes to replacing injured guys.
Marra is a replaceable cog in Pitino's machine. But if this keeps up, at some point, even Pitino is going to run out of cogs.