Yesterday, Louisville Athletics announced that the men’s basketball team was back in action after having to pause all team activities due to a positive Covid-19 test in the program last week. The Cards are easing their way back into practice and normal operations.
Today, head coach Chris Mack spoke with the media as his team is slowly easing back into action. He didn’t have an opening statement and just answered questions from the media.
Asked about the health of sophomores Samuell Williamson and Josh Nickelberry, Coach Mack said Williamson was going to play against UNC Greensboro if the game had been played as scheduled. How much he would’ve played wasn’t set in stone as it would depend on how his dislocated toe reacted to the physical exertion he placed on it while playing. Coach Mack said he expects Williamson to be ready to play whenever the team plays again.
As for Nickelberry, Coach Mack said he had some setbacks in his recovery and that’s why he couldn’t give a definitive timeline for his return when asked by media previously. He advised that he still can’t provide a timeline, but the hope and belief he has is that Nickelberry will be back within the next couple of weeks.
Asked about the pause and what it is like and what the team can do during it, Coach Mack said it’s unique, but the time off somewhat resembles the time off the team typically gets during Christmas. He mentioned that a decent number of players had already had Covid at some point and were allowed to work out individually in the facilities. Meanwhile, he said that it was a combination of players and staff that had contracted the virus. While they will have a full practice tomorrow, Coach Mack said not everyone will be back.
Here are some things that were discussed during the presser:
- How the initial person within the program contracted the virus. Mack didn’t want to speculate how, but said the bubble was done well at the Galt House despite ultimately failing. He believed some teams didn’t take Covid protocols as seriously as they should.
- When the Cards might see the floor again for an actual game. Mack is unsure, but said they are going to prepare as if there will be a game played on Wednesday until told otherwise.
- Coach Mack’s disagreement with Duke’s Coach K about cancelling non-conference games.
- Coach Mack’s belief that the NCAA Tournament will be played, but didn’t want to speculate on how the season will play out.
- The 4-0 start and what Coach Mack thinks of the performance of the team and the young players that have been forced into action.
- How Coach Mack is working the team back into playing shape and making corrections from previous games in hopes of staving off possible rust from being paused.
- NCAA adjudication process and the speed of it. Coach Mack didn’t say much other than it probably would’ve been faster had the legal system not been involved.
- The possibility of making up the two postponed games. It appears Mack believes Wisconsin could possibly be played, but UNC Greensboro is not going to be made up.
- Charles Minlend’s status as he recovers from injury.
- The surprisingly strong performance of the freshman class and, specifically Dre Davis and JJ Traynor.
You can hear all the details of what Coach Mack had to say by watching the 16 minute presser below.