Even after producing a triple-double against Nebraska, and a nine block effort against Kansas, Trayce Jackson-Davis hasn’t seemed like himself since suffering a back injury in November.
Some of it is because he is the literal center-of-attention, drawing double and triple-teams as opposing defenses have learned Jackson-Davis is too dangerous to cover one-on-one.
But Jackson-Davis hasn’t been 100 percent as the back issue has lingered, causing him to miss three games — one in late November, and two more in late December.
IU will have had 12 days off between games when they face Iowa on Thursday evening in Iowa City (9 p.m. Eastern / FS1), and the hope is that will have been enough time for Jackson-Davis to fully recover for the 18-game Big Ten gauntlet that awaits.
But whether or not the preseason All-American is at or close to 100 percent by Thursday is still in the to be determined category.
Indiana’s Monday practice was the first time Jackson-Davis had been full go since the Hoosiers faced Kansas on Dec. 17, his head coach revealed on Tuesday.
“Yesterday (Monday) was really the first time he’s had some contact,” IU coach Mike Woodson told the media on Tuesday morning via Zoom. “I thought he looked pretty good. But I won’t know the extent of it until I get down there in the training room today and just see how he feels physically.
“He’s been doing some things on the floor, but not a lot of contact. Yesterday we had a lot of contact. Today we’ll have a lot of contact. We’ll scrimmage today and just kind of see where he is, providing he’s feeling good about yesterday’s practice.”
Jackson-Davis has shown he can take over games this season — highlighted by his 30-point effort against Xavier just two days before the injury occurred. And he had 31 points and 10 rebounds against Iowa at the Big Ten Tournament last season, capping off a dominant three-game stretch in the postseason event.
We’ll have to wait and see beginning Thursday whether Jackson-Davis can return to that elite form in league play.
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