Louisville center David Padgett has a fractured right knee cap that will cause him to miss at least 10 weeks - possibly the rest of the season.
"David Padgett's (college) career is probably coming to an end,'' coach Rick Pitino said during a news conference Monday. "We're all devastated for David and for the team.''
The fifth-year senior banged the knee in practice last week, Pitino said, and hit it again as he tried to draw a charging foul during No. 6 Louisville's 84-53 win over Jackson State on Sunday. Pitino initially said the injury appeared to be a bruise.
On Monday, Pitino laid out three scenarios for Padgett: The knee could heal on its own and he could return for the season's stretch run, appeal to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility, or sit out the rest of the season and prepare for the NBA draft.
Padgett has had a history of injuries but began this season pain-free and moving as well as he had since transferring from Kansas after his freshman year.
He broke his foot in a pickup game a month before his sophomore season, then sprained a ligament in his left knee two months later. He underwent surgery on both knees in March 2006 and didn't play for five months.
Padgett estimated himself at 85 percent last year, averaging 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds.
A team captain, Padgett was expected to be the backbone of a team that is already missing senior forward Juan Palacios until December because of a knee injury.
Padgett's latest injury has been the hardest to take, Pitino said.
"It's the toughest to take personally, because I've seen him fight so hard, be so determined to come back and help the team, so optimistic about having a great senior year team-wise and personally,'' Pitino said. "It's real difficult to swallow.''