Mosquera-Perea active, running in IU’s open practice #iubb

OMAHA, Neb. — He ran the floor, jumped up and down for rebounds and generally offered a positive glimpse into a possible return against Wichita State.

Hanner Mosquera-Perea wants to play in Indiana’s NCAA Tournament opener on Friday afternoon, and if Thursday’s open practice was any indication, he appears ready.

All that must be determined now is what his role will be.

The 6-foot-9 junior says he still feels pain in his right knee from aggravating an earlier injury in IU’s Big Ten Tournament opener last Thursday. Although he missed the Hoosiers’ last game against Maryland, those in IU’s camp have been hopeful that the big man would be ready for a return this week.

That seems to be the plan.

“I’ve been able to do some things in practice,” Mosquera-Perea said. “I’m not sure what the coaches and trainers want me to do yet, but I feel better than what I did a few days ago. We’ll see how that goes.”

Mosquera-Perea called the injury suffered last week against Northwestern a further dislocation of the same kind he suffered in early January, an injury that caused him to miss seven games during the heart of conference play.

IU coach Tom Crean said he expects to use Mosquera-Perea in some capacity, but that won’t be decided until later tonight or early Friday.

“It’s gotten better every day, much like we hoped it would,” Crean said. “… Really where we’re at is every day it’s let’s try to do this, let’s see how he responds to it. He’s responded every day, and there is no reason to believe that he’s not going to be available to play.”

During IU’s open practice, Mosquera-Perea moved at full speed while running through drills and going to the rim for shots. While IU players ran the length of the court early in the session, Crean shouted at his big man to gauge his status.

“Way to run, Hanner!” Crean hollered from the sideline. “That feel good? That feel good?”

Mosquera-Perea nodded and moved through the remainder of Indiana’s practice without any apparent issues.

The Hoosiers know how much his presence could boost them against a similarly guard-heavy Wichita State lineup. Mosquera-Perea has played in 22 games this season, averaging 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per contest.

“It’s really important for us to have him on the court,” freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. said. “All the things he brings rebounding-wise, he just gives us that inside presence. Personally, I think he will play, but either way we’re going to find a way.”