Allen plans to have Jones back for Bucket game

Indiana expects to make a key addition to its defense in time for the biggest game of the year.

IU coach Tom Allen said Monday that he’s planning on having linebacker Reakwon Jones available for Saturday’s Old Oaken Bucket showdown with Purdue. Jones hasn’t played since suffering an unspecified injury during the Hoosiers’ Oct. 26 loss at Minnesota, and while he would’ve been available in an emergency last week at Michigan, the junior is on track to return for the regular season finale.

“Getting Reakwon back will be huge,” Allen said. “That’s the plan. So right now I hope that that continues to be the case because you don’t know for sure until you get through your two full padded practices, but as of right now, it’s looking like he’ll be back.”

Jones practiced with the team on Monday morning, and should he be fully cleared to play this weekend, he’ll share snaps with sophomore TD Roof. Jones’ return would also allow Indiana to keep freshman Micah McFadden at middle linebacker, where he’s played his way into a role on third downs.

Getting Jones back on the field comes at an crucial time for the Hoosiers, who need a win against the Boilermakers in order to extend their season. IU’s defense is also already guaranteed to be without freshman hybrid safety/linebacker Cam Jones for Saturday’s first half. Jones was ejected from the Michigan game after a targeting penalty in the second half.

Jones started the first nine games on the weak side this season and ranks seventh on the team with 36 tackles.

“He practiced with us today, so we’ll see how it feels,” Allen said. “He’s just coming back from that (injury), and obviously did not play last week, but was closer. (He) was kind of one of those maybe emergency-type situations. But I felt good about how he looked today.”