Howard questionable as IU prepares for Michigan State #iufb

Jordan Howard has yet to show Indiana coach Kevin Wilson that he can cut and play running back at full speed. Until he does, the junior won’t be available to play.

Howard’s status for Saturday’s game at No. 7 Michigan State remains questionable as he deals with an ankle injury suffered in the first half of IU’s loss to Ohio State on Oct. 3. Wilson said Howard will have opportunities to continue working his way back when the team returns to practice Tuesday, but that the situation remains one that requires daily evaluation.

“The real deal is you want to get Jordan healthy enough, not that he can play in games, but he can get back and do the things in practice,” Wilson said. “And we don’t need to over-practice him. He’s a proven player, but you just want to see that he can handle the cutting and the workload. And again, you’ve got this week. I know he’s doing everything he can to get back as fast as he can.”

Saturday against Rutgers marked the second consecutive week that Howard has missed a full game. He dressed and had his ankle taped when he joined the team for pregame warmups, but like the prior week at Penn State, Howard was mainly an observer and stood on the sideline while the rest of IU’s running backs participated in drills.

Wilson said Howard wants to play, but it’s a touch and go situation.

“We’re not holding him out for next week or for next year or for his career, but we’re going to do what’s best for him,” Wilson said. “I know he wants to play, but your points are can he handle the workload and be productive? That’s a part of it. We’re not going to over-practice him and show he can go. We did that with Nate last week. We said, ‘Hey, Nate, when you’ve had enough, it’s enough.'”

Sudfeld, who also missed last week’s game at Penn State with an ankle injury, returned to start Saturday against Rutgers, receiving a shot prior to the game to numb the irritation in his left ankle. After a career-best passing performance, Sudfeld told reporters Monday that his ankle held up well during the game and reported no issues Sunday or Monday.

“He looked better, but he’s still probably not full speed,” Wilson said. “He could have said, ‘I’m not ready. No, he wanted to go play with his guys, and I think that meant a lot to his teammates. I think his teammates played harder for him. That’s a good sign of a really strong leader because you can sit there and you got all kinds of influences and parents talking to you and everybody’s got buddies saying, ‘Hey, don’t go out there and have a bad game. Don’t go out there and hurt yourself. Don’t go out there and expose yourself.’ He loves his teammates, he loves his school. I think Jordan is the same. Jordan wants to play, and I think we’ll get him out there (soon).

11 comments

  1. Can’t see him playing this week given the unlikely scenario of a win, especially with the bye week coming up next. Get him healthy for the stretch run in November.

  2. Toby, as much as I miss seeing Howard play I think you are right looking at the schedule. It is a shame IU couldn’t go through the whole season with all their starters playing every game as I do believe they had a shot at winning 8 games. Instead once again this season they have had to play without major parts of their team.

    Still this team has games they can win and teams they can upset. It could still be a great season with an upset or two with two more wins to finish the season; unlikely but stranger things have happened.

  3. Probably wise to keep Howard out. You certainly don’t want him to aggravate his injury. Assuming he doesn’t transfer or try the NFL, he’ll be a key factor next season.

  4. Next season, for the 50th plus year. (Except for a small handful). If Howard is a respectable 100@% he plays. Try to win at MSU just like Rutgers did and then succeeded at IU. If Howard is not a respectable 100% then he sets. I do not know what a respectable 100% means. That is where trainers, doctors, coaches player, etc have to make that trusted call.

  5. Assuming Howard is healthy, it’s a safe bet that he will opt for the NFL draft if his research suggests he’ll be drafted in the first five rounds. It must be a very bad sprain if, with all the treatment he’s getting, he can’t play for four weeks.

  6. Po,

    Looking at the tape Howard got hit on the lateral side of his ankle. If he has an eversion sprain (where the sole of the foot turns outward) there is a longer recovery period involved because the foot has less range of motion in that direction. I hope he can play. I liked seeing Majette last Saturday. I believe he’s the change of pace back that can diversify the offense further. Go Hoosiers!!!

  7. I hope Howard is back because he would give IU a good chance to beat MSU. I like Majette as a change up back too although he showed he could be a bell cow back with a change up power back to go along with him down the road.

    The biggest problem IU will have against MSU is their passing attack but look at Rutgers and maybe it isn’t that much of a problem. I hope Coach Wilson decides to slow down the offense some in the 1st and 3rd quarter to give the defense a rest to be able to do better in the 2nd and 4th quarters.

    As far as Howard is concerned I could see him coming back next year after this injured season as NFL teams would be concerned about how he would hold up against top competition. I sure won’t be surprised to see him go to the NFL though. Besides the RBs we have we have a great HS back from Ohio coming in if he follows through with his commitment to IU. As a junior he beat out a senior that is going to MSU.

  8. Howard not good enough at this point to play NFL. He needs a solid near no injury season under his belt. Canadian fb, yes. Howard will be back.

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