Behanan was suspended indefinitely from the Cardinals last week because of an unspecified violation of university policy.
Pitino said athletic director Tom Jurich ultimately made the decision to suspend the 6-foot-6 junior from Cincinnati. Behanan is no longer living in the team dormitory, but he is still housed on campus and enrolled in classes.
On Thursday, Pitino was at a book signing in Owensboro, Ky., where he was asked about Behanan's status. The coach said Behanan could be back on the team "in a short period of time."
Reached by ESPN.com, Pitino clarified those statements.
"Chane is doing the right things but he is not on the team right now," Pitino said. "He is doing all the things necessary to be back on the team. I still don't envision him rejoining the team until December. He may practice in November, but I don't anticipate him playing in any games before December and that's only if he continues to do the right things.''
Behanan, who averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 39 games last season, has been a two-year starter at power forward and was projected to start as a junior.
ESPN.com senior writer Dana O'Neil contributed to this report.