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Mangok Mathiang will play in Louisville's first exhibition game

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest question marks surrounding the 2016-17 Louisville basketball team has been the health of senior center Mangok Mathiang.

Mathiang broke his left foot during U of L's Dec. 19 victory over Western Kentucky and sat out the rest of the season. A handful of setbacks during recovery kept Mathiang sidelined during the summer and for the start of practice last month. Those setbacks also led to questions about when Mathiang would be ready to see the court once the actual season rolled around.

Apparently the answer to that question is right away, as Rick Pitino said at a press conference Wednesday that Mathiang would be available to play in Louisville's opening exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan Thursday night.

"He hasn't played basketball - competitively in a real game - in a long time, so I think he'll be a little tight, even though he's a veteran," Pitino said. "He's almost about 85-90 percent back."

Mathiang was averaging 7.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game before his injury last season.