Blackmon to receive further evaluation #iubb

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — James Blackmon Jr.’s conference opener will have to wait.

The sophomore guard missed Wednesday’s win at Rutgers due to a knee injury suffered during Monday’s practice in Bloomington. A program spokesman said Blackmon will “continue to be evaluated,” though no timetable for a return was immediately available.

IU coach Tom Crean said Blackmon suffered the injury when he hit the floor wrong during a drill. Blackmon traveled with the team to New Jersey and appeared on the floor during pre-game warmups wearing an IU sweatsuit.

“We only had one practice without him,” Crean said. “It was (Tuesday) night in here. … With James, it’s not the shots he makes. It’s not just the percentage that he has. He makes the game easier for everybody else, because you can never not account for James. … There was less space today and we’re going to have to figure out how to (deal with that).”

Losing Blackmon saps a significant amount of firepower from Indiana’s offense. Blackmon is Indiana’s second-leading scorer with 15.8 points per game. He’s 10th in the Big Ten in scoring, eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (.463) and fourth in 3-pointers made (37). He also had plenty of success against Rutgers during his first season at IU. In two games against the Scarlet Knights last season, Blackmon averaged 18.5 points and 6.0 rebounds.

This is not the first knee issue for Blackmon, who underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee in July. He also suffered a major injury to his left knee during his sophomore season of high school.

But Blackmon’s current injury is to his right knee.

“It’s tough,” Bielfeldt said. “We really miss him. He’s a heck of a player. It’s tough being out there without him, but it’s next man up.”