IU basketball still not sure on recovery timeline for Xavier Johnson

Indiana head coach Mike Woodson gave a brief update on starting point guard Xavier Johnson Monday evening.

Johnson suffered a foot injury against Kansas on Saturday and was later seen in a walking boot on his right foot with crutches on the IU bench.

“Right now we’re still evaluating him, he’s kind of day-to-day,” Woodson said on his Monday evening radio show.  “He won’t play tomorrow (Tuesday vs. Elon), and we’ll probably know more Wednesday to see exactly where we are with him.”

Johnson appeared to suffer the injury during in awkward fall in the first half at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence.

The injury comes at an especially inopportune time for Johnson, who is playing in his fifth and final season of college basketball.

That’s something Woodson can relate to.  The Indiana head coach lost a significant portion of his senior season to a back injury.

“He’s frustrated because I’ve been there in those shoes as a senior,” Woodson said.  “This is his last go around, he can’t be redshirted, he’s put his time in, so he’s very frustrated.  It’s my job, it’s his family’s job to keep him upbeat, because in time everything heals and he’ll be back on the basketball floor playing.  But right the uncertainty with where he is is the problem.”

While his initial “day-to-day” comment seemed to leave the door open for a relatively quick recovery, Woodson later suggested the possibility remains Johnson could have a much longer timeline before he can return.  An assessment two days from now appears to be the turning point.

“We’ll wait on X if he ever gets the chance to come back, and we’ll know more Wednesday, and we’ll take him back.” Woodson said.

In the meantime, Woodson will have to find a replacement in the starting five for his veteran point guard.  That’s not a new problem after Indiana went three straight games without Johnson’s starting backcourt mate Jalen Hood-Schifino, who returned for the Kansas game.  Junior guard Trey Galloway started the games Hood-Schifino missed, but sophomore guard Tamar Bates started the second half against Kansas after Johnson’s injury.

“I’ve just got to figure out a different rotation, and keep grinding at practice and get better,” Woodson said.

Through 11 games, Johnson is averaging 9.9 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 turnovers and 1.2 steals per game in 25.2 minutes per contest.  He’s shooting 41.5 percent from the field overall, including 37 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

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