Crean uncertain Jones will play

All Tom Crean could say about Verdell Jones’ knee injury Wednesday is that there isn’t much he can say.

“The update on Verdell Jones is that he’s making progress,” Crean said. “He works every day with our doctors and trainer Tim Garl to get better and that’s the extent of the update.”

Asked later if that meant that it was still a fluid situation and he can’t say for certain when he would return, Crean confirmed that was what he meant.

“He really is making progress,” Crean said. “For me to go above and beyond that, I don’t want to do and really shouldn’t.”

So the Hoosiers go into Thursday’s 9 p.m. game against Illinois uncertain whether they will have Jones, who happens to be a native of Champaign, Ill. Sunday’s 91-77 loss to Iowa showed how much of a problem his absence can be. IU’s biggest problem was on defense, but on offense, they relied heavily on the combination of Christian Watford and jump shots. Though Crean said the Hoosiers got a lot of open looks, they missed most of them, shooting 37.1 percent from the field.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot of guys better in the league at using the ball screen than Verdell,” Crean said. “There’s other good ball screen guards. That’s one of the reasons it’s a great league, but when you take a leader like that out, what really affected us was the decision making. I thought we were really affected defensively. That’s where the improvement in Verdell is is that we really missed him defensively. We really missed him in transition. He’s really gotten better there. When he’s locked into an improvement area, he’s like Christian Watford. He really gets better in a hurry.”

Crean said one of the things the Hoosiers would need more of is off-the-ball movement.

“I think we’ve gotta continue to have movement,” Crean said. “Our issues the other day on offense were far and away missed open shots. It would blow you away how many we missed. I charted it. Nothing’s going to look good in that sense. The good news is we got a really good shots. … We did not screen very well the other day, and I think there’s gotta be more movement all the time for us. When the ball gets reversed, it allows to have things happen.”

A lot of the missed shots came because their best shooter, sophomore guard Jordan Hulls, was 1-for-8 from the field while battling an illness. Crean said he’s getting a little better.

“He hasn’t been coughing the way that he has,” Crean said. “It caught up with him this weekend. I think he feels better. I didn’t want him around at all yesterday. I told him yesterday to get a haircut, clean up those sideburns, and get some rest.”

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One comment

  1. Is CTC watching the same VJIII that I am watching? If CTC thinks that he is a leader and defensive necessity– no wonder the team is so terrible.

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