Hoosiers in holding pattern as injuries mount #iubb

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Indiana’s outright conference championship victory on Tuesday also carried a sense of loss.

Juwan Morgan’s status for Sunday’s regular-season finale is uncertain after the freshman forward aggravated a shoulder injury late in the second half of IU’s 81-78 win at Iowa. Morgan went down to the court in obvious pain during the final minute, requiring attention from Indiana athletic trainer Tim Garl and team physician Dr. Larry Rink.

It’s the latest injury blow to Morgan, who also saw his season put on pause in late November, when he suffered a foot injury during the final game of the Maui Invitational that caused him to miss four games. But Morgan’s shoulder has been at least a minor concern for much of the season, and the freshman has been wearing a brace under his uniform during games.

Morgan has played through the injuries in the past, and his emergence late in the Big Ten season is one of the many reasons for IU’s surge to the league title. He gives IU another strong, fundamental defender, while picking his spots on the offensive end. Morgan is averaging 5.7 points — three more than his season average — across the last four games. During that same span, Morgan has hit a 3-pointer in all four contests.

After Tuesday’s game, IU coach Tom Crean was still waiting on a full diagnosis.

“We’ve been down that road with him, (but) I don’t know the severity of it,” Crean said. “It’s not the first time that’s happened for him. He was in a lot of pain. He was in a ton of pain. It’s a good thing we’re not playing tomorrow. We’ll find out.”

The injuries keep popping up for the Hoosiers, who played their second consecutive game without sophomore guard Robert Johnson on Tuesday. Johnson made the trip to Iowa City, but he did not dress while recovering from an ankle sprain suffered Feb. 20 against Purdue.

“Hopefully he’ll be back soon,” Crean said. “It’s an ankle sprain, but we can’t rush it. It’s a sprain, so we’ve got to keep dealing with that.”

There’s no reason to rush either player back to the floor after the Hoosiers wrapped up the outright title. Indiana also secured a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament and won’t play its first postseason game until Friday, March 11 at noon.