Blackshear getting back to normal

Wayne Blackshear

Wayne Blackshear missed one game and left another early because of a reoccurring shoulder injury. But the University of Louisville sophomore said after Sunday's game that his shoulder is just fine, and his game is sure improving. Cardinal Authority has an update on Blackshear's progress.

University of Louisville sophomore Wayne Blackshear went down clutching his right shoulder with just over eight minutes left in last week's game against St. John's, leaving the KFC Yum Center crowd in silence.

The former McDonald's All-American from Chicago has struggled with injuries to both shoulder since he ended his high school career.

But this time, the injury was not serious.

Blackshear said he only "tweaked" the shoulder and returned on Sunday against South Florida where he continued his drastic improvement on the floor.

"I'm just trying to do what I can to help this team," Blackshear said. "I feel like I'm doing better all the time, I just have to keep working."

And stay healthy.

Blackshear has had surgery on both shoulders and missed the first 24 games last season before recovering. He missed the Pittsburgh game last month because of a "strained" shoulder he suffered in practice.

So, it was an anxious moment when he drove to the basket against St. John's and had his right arm yanked by a Red Storm defender. He sat out the final eight minutes with ice on his shoulder but didn't miss any practice time.

"My shoulder is fine," Blackshear said. "It was just a little tweak again, it was nothing serious. I just have to play through it. It's going to be OK."

Blackshear's game is also getting better and better.

While starting 20 of 25 games this season, Blackshear has scored in double figures in nine games and has nine or more points in six of the past nine games. He's averaging 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21.3 minutes a game.

"Wayne is playing excellent," U of L coach Rick Pitino said after Sunday's game. "He's getting back into it now, getting back into the groove."

Blackshear had perhaps his best game of the season against South Florida, getting 12 points on 5 of 11 field-goal shooting. He also had three steals and three rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Pitino noted he was more aggressive going to the basket in the game with three of the five shots coming two dunks and another driving layup.

"I feel like I am finally playing like I can," Blackshear said.

It's been a long time coming. He was originally injured during his senior season and then re-injured in practice for the McDonald's All-American game and missing almost a year "was so hard."

"It was really tough," Blackshear said. "But I just had to keep working hard to get through it and I finally got through it. Now, I have to keep working."

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