Johnson returns to Indiana’s delight #iubb

DES MOINES, Iowa — Robert Johnson walked onto the floor Thursday for the first time since Feb. 20, returning from a high-ankle sprain and receiving a standing ovation from IU supporters excited to welcome him back.

Johnson quickly shook off the rust, coming off the bench to score seven points and dish six assists in a reserve role. He played, perhaps, much better than anticipated after the extended layoff, shooting 3-for-3 from the field and bringing his usual awareness and understanding to both ends of the floor.

His 3-pointer with 3:57 remaining in the first half gave IU a new school record for 3s in a season, breaking the previous mark of 319 set last season.

“I felt pretty good all day,” Johnson said. “The pain didn’t feel any different than it usually does, especially these last couple of practices. So I’m encouraged with how I felt.”

His teammates, meanwhile, were just as excited to have him back.

“He’s a defensive threat and a pure shooter out there on the court,” Thomas Bryant said. “He’s always talking, and he always wants us to get better. He’s a downright dog out there.”

Ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Kentucky, Indiana is as close to full health as it’s been since late February.