Raise your hand if you're surprised.
Of course this is Rick Pitino so "likely won't play" means he'll start, but if it was "will not play" he wouldn't have seen the floor until the 10 minute mark.
"Back spasms --- I have them all the time," Pitino said. "It could be a week, it could be a couple of days. I just don't know."
Pitino said his options for replacing Palacios include starting senior Perrin Johnson, who has played sparingly this season; using freshman Derrick Caracter at forward, which he termed "unlikely;" or going with a small lineup.
"I'm being honest and open with you when I say I have no idea how to go," he said. "I was hoping (Palacios) could practice today and solve that problem, but that didn't happen. I'll have to toy around a little bit in practice and see what's best to use against St. John's."
Palacios' injury is unrelated to the back, neck and wrist problems he had earlier this season. He also has missed time in the past couple of seasons with a foot injury and after getting poked in the eye.
"He's just an accident waiting to happen," Pitino said, "but we're used to it, so it's OK.
If Palacios indeed can't go tomorrow night, Earl Clark should be a more than capable replacement considering St. John's' style of play is more conducive to his than JDP's anyway. I can see Pitino starting Perrin or maybe going back to the four guard deal, but I'd be shocked if Clark doesn't play around 25 minutes if in fact Tello can't go.
This is a game we should win with or without Palacios, but even with the emergence of the Cardinal Cuatro (Trademark) I still believe that a healthy and efficient Tello is a key for any possible run in the Big East or NCAA Tournament. If there is any possibility that playing tomorrow night might jeopardize Palacios' odds to go on Sunday, then he shouldn't play a minute.