Pitino resumes job after 2 days of tests

Originally Published: January 29, 2004
ESPN.com news services

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rick Pitino resumed his coaching duties at Louisville on Thursday morning, two days after taking an indefinite medical leave.

The 51-year-old Pitino ran the afternoon practice, which included installing the game plan for Saturday's game against Marquette.

Pitino will provide an update on his condition at a news conference on Friday.

Pitino visited the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday for medical testing to determine the cause of a pain in his left side. He had announced at a news conference Monday that he would take an indefinite medical leave for what he classified as a "urological related" pain.

In his place Wednesday, assistant coach Kevin Willard led the fourth-ranked Cardinals to their 16th consecutive victory, 64-48 over Houston at Freedom Hall.

On Tuesday, Pitino said he might miss only one game. He had tests for prostate and bladder cancer at a Louisville hospital earlier this month. Both turned up negative.

The players were energized by the good news.

"It was a big sigh of a relief," junior guard Larry O'Bannon said. "We just want to go out there and take care of Houston for him."

Luke Whitehead, Louisville's leading rebounder, said Willard told the team before Wednesday's game to make Pitino proud.

"We can't drop off, we've got to keep our energy at the same level as if Coach Pitino was there," he said.

The Cardinals were without leading scorer Francisco Garcia (sprained ankle) and top 3-point shooter Taquan Dean (pulled groin) against Houston. Garcia and Dean remain questionable for the Marquette game, but Garcia said he expects to play.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE