Johnson remains questionable; Morgan, Hartman will play

PHILADELPHIA — Robert Johnson was back on the court for Indiana’s open workout at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, but his status for Friday’s Sweet 16 game against North Carolina remains uncertain.

Johnson, who aggravated a high-ankle sprain during IU’s second-round win over Kentucky, wore a small brace on his left ankle while participating in the Hoosiers’ light afternoon shootaround in Philadelphia.

A decision on Johnson’s status against the Tar Heels is not expected until Friday evening.

“Feeling pretty good — a lot better than I was,” Johnson said. “Got a chance to go home, do some rehab two or three times a day, so we’ll see what happens (Friday).”

Johnson was not wearing a brace last weekend in Des Moines, but IU athletic trainer Tim Garl gave him one to try earlier this week. Johnson told reporters he has not been a full participant in IU’s early-week practices, but said that was due to precautionary measures.

Although Johnson said the brace restricts some of his normal movements, it has provided him with better support.

“It’s been really frustrating for the simple fact it’s one of those nagging injuries, so when you’re feeling better, it only takes one movement or something like that to re-injure it,” Johnson said. “So it’s really frustrating, but at the same time, I’m glad we’ve still be able to win. That’s what matters most.”

While Johnson awaits the green light, two of his fellow injured teammates expect to play.

Juwan Morgan said he will, without question, make himself available to play against the Tar Heels despite injuring his shoulder for the third time in IU’s last five games on Saturday against Kentucky.

Adding to his injury report earlier this week, Morgan also required four stitches near his left eye after taking a bump in practice on Tuesday.

“I honestly don’t remember (how it happened),” Morgan said. “We were doing a rebounding drill and I turned around after the possession and one of my teammates told me I was bleeding. Then it just started dripping on my nose and I went and got stitches.”

Collin Hartman also says his sore right wrist is improving after landing awkwardly during IU’s Big Ten Tournament game against Michigan two weeks ago.

“It’s getting better every day,” Hartman said. “I’ve made great shots in the last few days. We’re moving on and just playing the game. I gotta get lost in the game and do what I do.”