- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike underwent a procedure Tuesday morning to repair the plate in his left arm, and his status for Saturday's game against Louisville is up in the air, school officials said.
The senior hurt his left wrist and forearm in Thursday's win at South Florida. It is the same arm in which he had a plate and six screws inserted last year after breaking it. Last week's injury caused the plate to shift inside his arm.
Pike returned to practice Monday wearing a cast on the left arm. He will not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, but the fifth-ranked Bearcats hope he can return to the practice field Thursday. His availability for Saturday will depend on the amount of swelling in his arm and whether he's able to take snaps out of the shotgun.
"It's going to depend on the next 48 hours," Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly said. "He cannot go out there if he can't protect himself. We can't put him in a position where he can't feel comfortable in protecting himself. The last time [he had surgery], it took two weeks for us to feel he was ready to go. We're hoping that process is accelerated. That's why we're not going to rule him out for Saturday night now."
Pike ranks eighth nationally with 298.6 yards passing per game. The Bearcats are fourth nationally in scoring with 40.7 points per game.
Kelly has shown versatility and creativity in managing his quarterbacks. Last season, the Bearcats were forced to use five of them due to the injuries. Because Cincinnati has prospered through so much quarterback uncertainty, the Bearcats don't seem too concerned.
"It's going to fall on the offensive play-calling," Kelly said. "It's going to fall on making sure we get the right kind of calls for whoever the quarterback is. We're going to have to do some things to protect him a little bit more. We've got enough in our library [of plays] that we can work on whoever the quarterback is. I don't believe anybody in that locker room is concerned about it. We'll find a way to get it done."
Kelly spoke with Pike on Tuesday morning and found him in good spirits.
"Mentally, he's so much better," Kelly said. "The first time getting injured, it works on you a little bit. He's been through it. He knows what the procedure is. He knows how to rehab it. He knows how to do the right things in terms of getting himself prepared."
Brian Bennett covers Big East football for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
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