Louisville wide receiver DeVante Parker, who hasn't played this season because of a foot fracture, could return to practice next week.
Parker, who had 55 receptions and 12 TDs last season, had surgery Aug. 25 on his fractured left foot. His recovery is "on schedule or ahead of schedule," Petrino said.
Parker initially was supposed to miss between six and eight weeks; he is working out and a six-week return would have him on the practice field next week. That would be good timing: The Cardinals play at Clemson on Oct. 11. They play North Carolina State on Oct. 18 and Florida State on Oct. 30; at the least, Parker is expected back for the game with FSU.
Louisville's passing attack has been a disappointment, but its failures aren't solely on Parker's absence. New quarterback Will Gardner has struggled a bit, and he also missed last week's win over Wake Forest with an injury. He might not be able to play this week against Syracuse, which would mean true freshman Reggie Bonnafon would make his second consecutive start.
Still, Parker's big-play ability is missed, and the Cardinals have no clear-cut go-to receiver without him.
Parker (6-foot-3, 208 pounds) has been clocked at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash; his vertical jump has been measured at 36.5 inches and his broad jump at 10-foot-10. He can squat 455 pounds and bench press 335 pounds; he also can do 17 reps in the bench press at 225 pounds. In addition, he has a wing span of 80 inches. In short, he is a physical marvel who was seen as a potential first-round pick before this season.