A year ago this weekend, Indiana point guard Xavier Johnson suffered a season ending broken right foot at Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas.
He’s fully recovered from that, but his health is once again a major storyline as Kansas makes the return trip to Bloomington (Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET, CBS) for the back half of the home-and-home nonconference series.
This time Johnson has been dealing with a lower left leg/foot injury that has held him out since the first half of the Harvard game on Nov. 26. Since that time he’s been seen on the IU sideline in street clothes while wearing a walking boot.
Head coach Mike Woodson is not sure whether or not his sixth-year starter will be able to play against No. 2 Kansas, but he didn’t sound optimistic.
“I don’t know yet,” Woodson said during a Friday Zoom press conference. “I just don’t.”
What Woodson does know — losing Johnson for a second straight year has been tough on both Johnson individually, and the team.
Prior to last season, Johnson had never missed time due to an injury.
“It’s been tough for him. I mean, you go back-to-back years where you’re not playing basketball. We went into this season expecting him to be on the floor. He’s not there,” Woodson said.
“I know it’s tough on him. It’s tough on us. But we got to keep marching along based on who we got in uniform until he gets back.”
Johnson is averaging 10.5 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field this season. When he’s healthy, Johnson is IU’s best on-ball defender.
Freshman Gabe Cupps (2.8 ppg) has started for Johnson in each game since his latest injury.
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