Indiana Daily Student

Mosquera-Perea returns ahead of schedule

Junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea fights for position to rebound a free throw during IU's game against Savannah State on Saturday at Assembly Hall.
Junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea fights for position to rebound a free throw during IU's game against Savannah State on Saturday at Assembly Hall.

IU got a little bigger over the weekend.

With 7:52 left in the first half of Sunday’s game against Michigan, junior forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea checked in for the first time in almost a month. He had injured his right knee in a Jan. 12 practice and missed the Hoosiers’ next seven games.

Mosquera-Perea played just four minutes Sunday and didn’t score a point, but his short-lived return carried promise for IU — he returned to the court more than a week ahead of schedule.

IU Coach Tom Crean said Mosquera-Perea hadn’t returned to full basketball activity until that weekend, and that his recovery didn’t allow him to play regular minutes.

“Would it have been great to get him extended minutes? Yeah,” Crean said. “But he wasn’t ready to.”

Mosquera-Perea may still not be ready for a full workload today against Maryland, but he’s on his way back. Now that he’s healthy, the next step is to get back into game shape, Crean said.

“It’s just a matter of him getting used to it again,” Crean said. “The conditioning ?will come.”

Sophomore forward Collin Hartman started every game at center in Mosquera-Perea’s absence. He performed well, averaging 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds per game over that stretch, but isn’t suited to Mosquera-Perea’s role in ?the paint.

Before the injury, Mosquera-Perea had started every game, averaging 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

His production had been streaky — such as his three-point, reboundless showing against SMU or his scoreless, one-rebound game at Michigan State — but both teammates and Crean have emphasized how much the Hoosiers lose with him out ?of uniform.

“He just adds another dynamic to our team when he comes in,” Hartman said.

Crean said he was pleased with how Hartman stepped up, but said the two players provide different types of ?production. He rattled off a list of tasks for Mosquera-Perea, now that he’s back in the fold.

“Be a presence in pick-and-roll defense, be a presence in the post, be a presence at the rim, be a presence in help defense, run the floor, get people open, space and get the ball free inside so he can go up into his jump hook, things like that,” Crean said.

What’s unclear is how many minutes Mosquera-Perea will get to fulfill those duties. Crean said he hasn’t decided on a minute limit and that the junior forward will have to undergo more tests before he can fully return.

How long his starting center can play isn’t Crean’s main concern. The question lies in how productive Mosquera-Perea can be in whatever minutes he receives against Maryland.

“It’s not even about sustainable minutes of quantity, but more about the quality of those minutes,” Crean said.

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