Freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino stepped up in a big way the last time Indiana faced one of college basketball’s traditional powers.
Will he be available when the Hoosiers take on another at Kansas on Saturday?
How his back responds during IU’s Thursday afternoon practice will go a long way towards providing that answer.
“Today we’re going to start him out on the floor and see if he can go at practice,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said during a press conference with the media on Thursday morning.
“The last few days he’s kind of shot around and done some things and he’s moving around, so today we’re gonna let him bang a little bit and see where he is tomorrow.”
The 6-foot-5 Hood-Schifino scored 12 of Indiana’s first 19 points against North Carolina, but he hasn’t played in a game since, dealing with what the program has described as a back issue, with no further details on the nature of the injury.
On Thursday Woodson gave IU fans some sense of relief when he clarified the injury isn’t anything structural or long-term.
“From a medical standpoint I think he’s fine,” Woodson said.
Woodson is well-versed in back injuries. His senior season at IU was heavily impacted by an injury that ultimately required mid-season surgery.
“You’ve gotta be patient with it,” Woodson said of Hood-Schifino. “I think the player himself will lead you in the direction he wants to go.
“When you can’t do the things you’re used to doing on the floor, that’s a problem. That’s what he was experiencing, and the last few days he’s been on the floor shooting, and moving around, and he got a good workout on our off day yesterday. So now we’ll see if he can handle the pounding a little bit today at practice and then see how he feels tomorrow.”
IU has lost two of the three games Hood-Schifino has missed since the North Carolina game. He tried to warm-up at Rutgers but appeared to be limited by the back injury.
A starter in all of the seven games he has been available, Hood-Schifino is averaging 8.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 28.1 minutes per contest. He’s shooting 37.5 percent from the field overall, and 31.6 percent from behind the 3-point arc.
Hood-Schifino was a 5-star prospect and the highest-rated incoming recruit in the Big Ten this season according to 247Sports.
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