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Louisville C Malik Williams “doubtful” to play against Virginia

The junior captain may miss his second straight game.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Appearing on “The V Show” with Bob Valvano on Thursday afternoon, Louisville assistant Dino Gaudio didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture when the status of center Malik Williams’ availability for Saturday’s game at Virginia was brought up.

“How should I say this? Doubtful,” Gaudio said. “We’re going to be cautious with him, as badly as we want to win an ACC championship. Hopefully we do at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. We know long term with the aspirations we have and the goals we have for this team, we want to make sure he’s healthy and ready for the long run.”

Williams injured his left ankle early in the first half of Louisville’s loss at Florida State two Mondays ago. He did not play in the team’s Senior Day victory over Virginia Tech on Sunday.

Before the Florida State game, Williams had scored 11 or more points in five of Louisville’s last six games and had replaced Steven Enoch in the Cardinals’ starting lineup. The junior captain was spectacular in the team’s 90-66 win over Syracuse, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds despite playing just 23 minutes as the Cardinals coasted to victory.

The loss of Williams, one of the best defensive big men in America, could be especially problematic given the recent play of Virginia center Jay Huff. The 7’1 Huff scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds in UVA’s win over Miami on Wednesday. That performance came four days after Huff was one rebound away from a triple-double against Duke. He blocked 10 shots and scored 15 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Blue Devils.