It isn’t often that a first-year player coming from a junior college background can crack the rotation of a defending national champion, but that is exactly what junior guard Chris Jones has done for the Louisville Cardinals. However, Jones won’t be in uniform when Rick Pitino leads his 14-3 team into a game against Houston on Thursday.
Pitino says Chris Jones tweaked his oblique muscle and won’t play vs. Houston.
— Howie Lindsey (@howielindsey) January 15, 2014
Per Pitino himself, Jones won’t suit up for the game because of an oblique injury that presumably cost him the majority of the team’s last game (he played 12 minutes) against SMU on Sunday. The 5-foot-10 guard from Memphis is the 3rd-leading scorer for this Louisville team, averaging over 11 points per game, but perhaps more importantly, he is notching nearly 2 steals a game to contribute to the havoc-causing Pitino defense.
Against the 10-6 Houston Cougars, Louisville should fare just fine without Smith, and according to KenPom, the Cardinals are projected to grab an 18-point win in the game. Long-term, this type of injury shouldn’t cost Jones too much additional time, and when he and his counterpart at the guard spot, Russ Smith, have it going, they are nearly impossible to deal with for the opposition.