Crean optimistic Johnson, Morgan will return in Philadelphia #iubb

DES MOINES, Iowa — Robert Johnson isn’t worried about his ankle, and Juwan Morgan isn’t worried about his shoulder.

Neither is Indiana coach Tom Crean, who is optimistic that both players will be available when the Hoosiers return to the floor in Friday’s Sweet 16 in Philadelphia.

Late in the first half of Saturday’s 73-67 win over Kentucky, Johnson planted awkwardly on his left ankle — the same one he sprained on Feb. 20 against Purdue. Johnson’s recovery forced him to miss four games, including IU’s Big Ten Tournament-opening loss to Michigan. The sophomore guard returned only this week, playing 24 minutes in IU’s NCAA Tournament first-round win over Chattanooga on Thursday.

“As far as the pain level, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did (against Purdue),” Johnson said. “So that’s definitely a good sign. With four or five days to go home and get rest, I think I’ll be ready to go.”

The same goes for Morgan, who explained earlier this week that he’s been dealing with separated shoulder issues since the summer before his senior year of high school. The Indiana freshman went down grabbing his shoulder early in the second half Saturday and had to be helped off the floor.

Morgan was taken into the locker room and returned to the IU bench later in the second half with his left arm tucked away inside his jersey.

Saturday marked the third game this month that Morgan has had to leave with a shoulder injury, after suffering previous separations at Iowa and against Maryland on Senior Day.

Crean said after Saturday’s game that Morgan’s latest shoulder injury didn’t appear to be as painful or serious as the previous two.

“I felt awful for those guys,” Crean said. “I really did, because Rob has worked so hard to come back. … Juwan couldn’t have come back in today, but if it stays true to the way it’s been, he will be able to practice in the next couple of days. We will be careful with it, but he will be able to practice.”