IU Coach Tom Crean said he hopes to have junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea back as early as Feb. 15 when IU plays Minnesota at Assembly Hall.
Talking on his weekly radio show, Crean said there isn’t much to update with Mosquera-Perea other than that he’s continuing to progress through his rehab since injuring his right knee in practice Jan 12. He was, however, able to toss out two potential return dates within three weeks.
“Looking at the schedule, I think anything before Minnesota (Feb. 15), Purdue (Feb. 19) would be a big bonus,” Crean said. “I would hope it wouldn’t go much past that.”
Crean said for Mosquera-Perea to return quickly, he’ll need to “have the Collin Hartman mindset” throughout his rehab, referencing how the sophomore forward returned from injuring his ACL.
The Hoosiers are 3-1 since Mosquera-Perea went down with his injury. In that stretch, opponents are shooting 61 percent from 2-point range without Mosquera-Perea in the middle to defend close shots.
Crean said one of the biggest areas of concern will be Mosquera-Perea’s strength. While injured, Mosquera-Perea hasn’t been able to remain in basketball shape physically due to the limitations of his knee injury.
Crean said his mindset now is all about controlling what he can in the process without rushing things.
“This will be a big week,” Crean said. “We’re still a ways off the target somewhere in mid-February.”
Johnson questionable for Purdue
Freshman guard Rob Johnson’s availability against Purdue on Wednesday is in question, and Ohio State cheerleaders appear to be partially at fault.
Johnson injured his knee Sunday after he stepped on a folder or another unidentified piece of material left on the baseline next to the Buckeyes’ cheerleaders. As he stepped on the object, Johnson’s knee gave in as he fell to the floor.
Johnson went to the locker room shortly after falling, but returned to the court to play 17 minutes, finishing with just two points and one rebound.
He played the second half with a larger brace on his knee, but the extent of the injury has not been released.
Crean said IU will follow the advice of the IU team doctors, but said he doesn’t anticipate the injury to be anything “real serious.”
“The good news is he went back in the game,” Crean said. “The unfortunate news is that it really never needed to happen.”
Johnson, who has started every game for IU this season, averages 9.2 points and 2.5 assists per game and has been described by Crean and teammates as one of the team’s better defenders on the perimeter.
Davis won’t return this season
Devin Davis’ health has continued to improve, but he will not return to the court this season.
Crean told ESPN’s Andy Katz on Monday that Davis will not play this year, allowing him to take a medical redshirt and maintain a year of eligibility. If Davis returns to the floor next season, he will do so as a redshirt sophomore.
“Right now, he has got a lot of different things he’s having to deal with and continuing to build his therapy,” Crean said on Katz’s podcast. “There’s certainly no way he’s going to play this year, obviously, but hopefully he’s going to have a full recovery and an even better understanding and maturity to be able to go next year.”
Davis has been sidelined since suffering a severe head injury when he was struck by a car being driven by teammate Emmitt Holt in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 1. Davis returned to his hometown of Indianapolis for rehab after spending his first few days in a Bloomington hospital.
“Doctors say he’s making progress,” Crean said. “His attitude is great.”
Up until Monday, Crean floated around the possibility of Davis to return in the middle of the Big Ten season.
Davis returned to classes as a full-time student for the spring semester and has begun taking free throws in practice, but has not progressed enough to be in a position to return to competitive basketball just yet.
He has, however, showed an eagerness to get back to playing with his teammates whenever he can.
“He’s already trying to play one-on-one and everything like that,” freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. said before the Illinois game. “He’s doing real well. I’m very surprised at the progress he’s had.”
Hoosiers ranked again
IU moved up one spot to No. 22 in the latest AP Top 25 Poll released Monday. It’s the second consecutive week the Hoosiers have been ranked in the poll.
IU split its two games in the last week, defeating Maryland 89-70 at Assembly Hall on Thursday before losing to Ohio State 82-70 in Columbus, Ohio.
The Hoosiers join No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 16 Maryland as the three ranked teams representing the Big Ten in the AP Top 25. Ohio State was just on the outside, picking up the 28th most votes.
In the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, IU moved up one spot to No. 21.
IU (15-5, 5-2) plays Purdue (12-8, 4-3) at 9 p.m. Wednesday in West Lafayette.