Loose placard caused Johnson’s baseline injury; severity unclear #iubb

Robert Johnson’s injury was avoidable, and that’s what disappoints his coach.

Tom Crean was unsure what happened to Johnson in the first half of Sunday’s game at Ohio State until he returned to the game tape and saw that his freshman guard slipped and fell on a loose piece of paper or placard left on the baseline next to the Buckeyes’ cheerleaders. It came after Johnson went up for a layup barely two minutes into the game and let his momentum carry him under the basket, where he lost his footing.

Johnson went to the locker room shortly after falling, logging only eight first-half minutes before returning in the second half with a brace on his left knee. On Monday, Crean declined to clarify the exact nature of the injury.

The IU coach said it was too early to tell whether Johnson’s injury will linger, but added that he was unsure if his freshman guard would be able to play in Wednesday’s game at Purdue.

Here’s a closer look at the moment Johnson fell:
“It’s one of those inadvertent things that you hope never happens, but it did and (the papers) were just laying there as he finished his layup,” Crean said about the fall. “I think the best news for Robert is that he went back in the game. Now we have to continue to monitor it in a very close way and hope that it doesn’t linger. He was treating it last night and moving forward with that, so we’ll see how he feels as we get closer to tomorrow. I don’t think it’s anything that’s gonna be long lasting, but there’s nothing that says it’s going to be OK for this game either.”

In Johnson’s absence Sunday, Crean gave increased time to Stanford Robinson, who logged 15 minutes and went 1-for-3 from the field for two points.

But Robinson was once again inconsistent during his time on the floor, committing two turnovers and drawing the ire of Crean for his defensive lapses. With Johnson’s availability for Wednesday uncertain, Robinson could continue to see more meaningful minutes if his freshman teammate is not a full go.

This season has been a major struggle for Robinson, who has shown no resolve in establishing a level of consistency for himself. Robinson has offered brief flashes of being able to settle into his role as a reserve guard only to take two steps backward in each ensuing appearance on the floor. He had his best effort of the year against Penn State on Jan. 13, when he came off the bench to score 12 points without committing a turnover, but hasn’t come close to duplicating that performance in each of the next three games.

Robinson has appeared in 18 games off the bench and 3.6 points per game, while committing 19 turnovers against 22 assists.

With Johnson’s status potentially in the air, Crean said he’s not issuing an individual challenge for Robinson so much as he wants to see him work better within the flow of the team.

“He’s gotta quit turning the ball over and he’s gotta be a more efficient defender,” Crean said. “We just can’t have the turnovers at the rim or driving through the lane, and we gotta keep simplifying the game. When we try to do too much is when the issues come. He’s capable of more. He’s providing more and, certainly in a game like this with Purdue, who’s really strong on the perimeter, it’s going to be important that he play better.”


  1. I want all IU players and coaches to do well but Stan Robinson continually, game after game, drives too often to the basket and either turns it over or throws up a wild shot. If you don’t want him to do that Mr. Crean why don’t you put him on the bench until he learns instead of rewarding him with more minutes in the game? Perhaps he continues to do it because he has no fear of losing playing time.

  2. Hoping Rob can play, but if not I’d definitely prefer to see Z, Max, and Emmitt’s minutes increase and not Stan’s. Regardless of how people are feeling lately about Z, he gives effort all the time and fits into the system nicely. The bonus with Z is he could actually get hot. Something that is almost impossible with Stan. Max is making strides all the time and seems to be really confident when he catches the ball now. He also brings some defensive versatility because of his height. No idea why Holt isn’t getting more minutes… He was a real spark in the first half against OSU. He plays hard and usually is in the right place. He’s the closest thing we have to rim protection because of his length. I would simply handle Stan by telling him before the game that I’ll give you a shot around the X minute mark… you’ll have a couple minutes to show me if you’re ready to play today or not. If he comes in and turns it over immediately like he has the past few games he’ll just end up chillin next to Hanner in the locker room the rest of the night.

  3. With the announcement that Devin Davis wont suit up this year, Maybe Mike or Jeremy can answer this, is there a real possibility that DD never plays at IU or even plays basketball competitively again? It will be 9 mos and that seems to be a long time to rehab for a concussion alone. Just pondering on what DD’s REAL health is.

  4. TJ,

    Due to HIPAA, there hasn’t been any specifics given as to exactly what happened to Devin (and we’ll never know), but we know for certain that it wasn’t a concussion. Devin had some kind of serious, traumatic brain injury. One that might have killed him. We know this because of the gravity and tone of the way people spoke about him at the time of his injury.

    One of my good friends growing up was hit by a car and suffered a major brain injury. Although he was fine in terms of learning and cognitive skills, for the the rest of his life he had to take major precautions not to do anything that might cause a concussion. Even a slight concussion might kill him.

    If Devin plays basketball again competitively, he’s really, really lucky.

    1. I would second what Double Down said. It’s only been recently that Devin has been able to sit on the bench again, and he’s able to do some basketball drills, as his dad posted on Instagram at Christmas. That’s progress and indicates at least a little less fear of a concussion by any casual means. But Tom Crean has also said Devin’s still not able to fully practice yet, so I would guess there’s still a long way to go to full recovery.

  5. Geoff, I am in agreement with your assessment above. Although I do lean toward Max a bit more than I do to Nick. We need his height and his potential is higher. He does show great confidence when playing even though Nick does match that system naturally. Regardless Holt has to receive the majority of minutes just for post presence. I Iike CH at the forward spot helping the post. He has a knack for claiming good position. Always next year, always wait till next year but IU’s floor talent next year will not be just potential but very experienced and a have achievements to be confident from. Maybe the 2 young cats coming in will not have to be so relied on to make a successful season. Or are they in possession of such skills they cannot be denied? Because of his particular situation does Nick become a walk-on next season? the rest of this season is going to be fun.

  6. anyone else excited about watching the OSU/MD game on Thursday? That is a pretty interesting match-up between Trimble and Russell. Two fairly similar players in very similar roles for their teams. Will be an interesting gauge as to how good MD actually is.

  7. mr. walker. the scoop’s resident voice of reason and civility. we’ll see how long that lasts. but what i think mr. walker is basically trying to say is…more max hoetzel

Comments are closed.