Hoosiers hope to be at full strength for NCAA tournament opener

  • 03/16/2016 7:18 pm in

DES MOINES, Iowa – Just how healthy Indiana is when it tips off the 2016 NCAA tournament on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena may play a significant factor in how far the Hoosiers can advance in the East region.

Three IU players – Robert Johnson, Juwan Morgan and Collin Hartman – continue to rehab from injuries, but each player expects to be available when the Hoosiers take the floor against Chattanoooga.

Johnson, who hasn’t played since Indiana’s win over Purdue on Feb. 20, said his injury was officially diagnosed as a high ankle sprain and a bone bruise to his left foot. Indiana considered playing Johnson, who is averaging 8.2 points per game and is shooting 43.6 percent on 3-pointers, against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament.

But after completing warmups, a decision was made to rest him another week in preparation for the NCAA tournament. Johnson said he was “definitely thinking about” playing in the loss to the Wolverines at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“Robert is doing more,” Tom Crean said Wednesday. “I would say right now he is definitely probable as long as things continue to move in the direction that they’re moving right now.”

Johnson said the extra rest has not only benefited him in terms of getting his foot completely healthy, but has also helped his legs become fresher.

“Yesterday and today, I went the whole time and it didn’t feel any more sore than it usually is after I do my conditioning or things like that,” Johnson said. “So that’s definitely a good sign.”

Morgan, meanwhile, played just six minutes in IU’s Big Ten tournament loss to Michigan, but said that his lack of minutes in that game weren’t due to his injury.

After being forced to leave IU’s win at Iowa and a win over Maryland at home, Morgan bounced back both times and expects to be ready to go on Thursday.

“Really all it’s been explained to me as is a shoulder injury,” he said. “I really don’t know how I bounce back so fast. That’s the mentality that I have, really, is just be tough no matter what.”

Crean said Morgan has practiced all week.

Hartman appeared to suffer a right wrist injury in IU’s loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament and was wearing a brace in a team picture posted before the team departed for Des Moines on Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s open practice at the Wells Fargo, Hartman didn’t take any jump shots from the perimeter, but participated in the rest of the team’s drills.

Crean said that Hartman has some “lingering effects” from the fall he took last Friday, but has been available to practice this week.

“I’ve been getting treatment and stuff. Feels good and ready to go,” Hartman said on Wednesday. “Timmy G (Garl) is working his magic. Just gotta keep it loose and things of that nature, but it feels good.”

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  • I’m of the opinion, he may take a game or two to get it going after he missed as much action as he did.. So he may not be as effective anyway.. But I’d rather have him come back with some ‘rust’ even if ‘part time’ for this game than against Kentucky… If he’s able to go, I’d at least play him some…

  • I hear ya, mine too.

  • marcusgresham

    Please tell Kentucky I hate them.

  • marcusgresham

    At this point it is more of “mental lift” if he comes in off the bench. The crowd roar will be far more intense that way than if he starts.

  • marcusgresham

    “For once I’ll feel what it’s like to be a drunk pUKe fan.”
    Not if your sister has anything to say about it!

  • marcusgresham

    Collin’s just waiting to “Willis Reed” them!

  • marcusgresham

    It’s a good place for an African/Australian/Canadian, too

  • Hoosier gal in Iowa

    I’m pretty persuasive. Plus I don’t miss IU basketball games and so he doesn’t either! He knows way more about IU than Iowa or Iowa State.

  • BL

    I’m not feelin the love there; are you?

  • Koko

    How long did it take to figure out how to spell that?
    I would have gotten dizzy trying to figure that one out….LOL

  • Koko

    Who is Romeo? I don’t seem him on the recruiting board.

  • IULore

    Romeo Langford in New Albany. He’s class of 18 so he’s not there yet.

  • BL

    IULore has it. Will be all-timer at IU if we get him. Just finishing up his sophomore season; playing in the semi-state at Richmond on Saturday. Recruiting will heat up big time this summer. Few decent video’s on youtube.

  • Koko

    Thanks guys…..an Indiana player….whoop whoop

  • IULore

    I live down here in the area and let me tell you, he is a class act and an extremely good yet humble player. He will be a great one. Word is, his family likes IU.

  • BL

    Yeah, just a sophomore and needs to mature physically but what a talent. Heard he’s a great kid. Really happy to know the family appears to like IU.

  • Funny story: I started typing it on my iPad, and it popped up in autocorrect. Cracked me up.

  • bleeding crimson

    great job Hoosier gal…I always wanted a Kiss from OG but I’ll take the trip though you. LOL

  • bleeding crimson

    I’ve live not to far from NA, and I’ve heard get things about him but have not see him in person or video.

  • bleeding crimson

    I really think he doesn’t want to give the enemy any info on who they need to scout on. I also think his given the comment to us fans but doesn’t want to give away any info. Just my take, but I understand the complexity of the comment.

  • CaseMan96

    Does anyone know if fish is broadcasting the game?

  • IUMIKE1

    Careful what you wish for……….