Doctors wouldn’t clear Johnson to play #iubb

PHILADELPHIA — The bench was uncomfortable.

Robert Johnson wanted to be on the court, but an aggravated ankle injury did not make that possible.

Despite dressing and participating in both pre-game and halftime warmups, Johnson was not cleared to play in Indiana’s 101-86 loss to North Carolina in Friday’s Sweet 16 at the Wells Fargo Center. The sophomore guard missed IU’s season-finale after re-injuring a high-ankle sprain in last weekend’s second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, especially when I wanted to be out there,” Johnson said. “Felt like I could’ve definitely helped with some things, and it was just tough. … When you’re over there, you can’t really do anything about it. You do everything you can to help keep the energy up and things like that, but you just feel like you let those guys down.”

Johnson, whose left ankle has been a topic of concerned conversation since he had to be carried off the court late in a Feb. 20 win against Purdue, experimented with a brace earlier this week, but it wasn’t enough to convince IU doctors he was ready to return.

Johnson missed Friday’s game after failing to gain full clearance to do so much as practice in the days leading into IU’s contest with the Tar Heels.

“It was completely out of my hands,” Johnson said. “It was a game-time thing. We talked about it before the game, said it was a slim and none chance I was going to play at all, so I just tried to stay ready. But like I said, it’s just frustrating when you can’t help your brothers in a situation like that.”

After the game, Tom Crean admitted that he considered giving Johnson a quick cameo on the floor before deciding against it.

“I had to think about going against doctor’s orders for a minute to get Rob Johnson in the game, but that wasn’t going to fly,” Crean said.

One comment

  1. Good judgement on the part of the team doctors and Crean. While we missed Robert Johnson on the floor, ankle injuries take time to heal. And it is in Johnson’s best interest, and IU’s, to make sure he is completely healed before he sets foot on the gym floor again.

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