On his radio show Monday night, Archie Miller praised the eight scholarship players who are healthy enough to practice for their effort in Monday’s practice, but in so doing, he also confirmed that redshirt junior forward Race Thompson and sophomore guard Armaan Franklin are not healthy enough to practice.
Miller said both are day-to-day as the No. 10 seed Hoosiers approach their first Big Ten tournament game Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against No. 7 seed Rutgers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. He’s hopeful that both could play, but they still have to see significant improvement before they’re ready to go.
Franklin has been out since injuring his right heel and Achilles tendon on Feb. 24 in the first half of the Hoosiers’ loss at Rutgers. He’s the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer with 11.6 points per game and best 3-point shooter at 45 percent (36 of 80). Indiana hasn’t won since and in the three games he’s missed the Hoosiers are 11 of 58 (18.9 percent) from the 3-point arc.
“Not having Armaan, realistically for the last three and a half games, not having him has really changed the dynamic of our depth,” Miller said. “Our ability to play on defense, offense a certain way. He’d really found a niche of being, if not our most important offensive player, being able to create and score. He’s also been one of our best defensive players. We’ve been able to kind of hang in there without him but with him we’re a different team. As we approach the Big Ten tournament we’ll see where we’re at. He’d be a big boost.”
But he’s still got a distance to go in his return.
“He’s still yet to take the practice floor with the group,” Miller said. “He’s dealing with a very odd injury. He tweaked his foot from his ankle and he hasn’t been able to recover from it without being full speed. I don’t think he’s very confident. We’ll see how he does. He shot a little bit today but he didn’t do any of the work the other guys do. Maybe he’ll get some increased work. I think he’d like to play.”
They’d also like to have Thompson, but he’s dealing with both the broken nose he’s played through and the ankle he turned in the second half against Purdue on Saturday. He tried to play through that injury, but didn’t make it very far. Thompson has arguably been the Hoosiers’ most well-rounded player with 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and 26 steals that match Franklin for the team high.
“He’s going to be day-to-day going into the tournament,” Miller said. “You can’t ask more of Race Thompson. Race has been a warrior for us all year. He’s battled all the way to the finish, and if he can play he’s definitely going to play.”
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