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Mackenzie Holmes getting closer to a stretch-run return for IU women

It sounds like “when” rather than “if” as it relates to center Mackenzie Holmes’ return to the IU women’s basketball team this season.

The team’s leading scorer and rebounder had a knee procedure in January and hasn’t appeared in a game since Jan. 5.

After her team’s win at Illinois on Wednesday evening, head coach Teri Moren provided an update on Holmes’ rehabilitation and timeline.

“I think she is getting closer,” Moren told reporters last night after the game.  “She is on the floor not from a team perspective but she is doing some individual stuff right now with coach Rhet (Wierzba) who oversees our post play and that started back in Bloomington and a little bit more today, and then we’ll get her back to Bloomington and keep doing just a little bit more.

“I think everybody’s excited about where she is right now in terms of her rehab and her recovery of getting back on the floor soon.”

In a BTN interview last month Moren suggested Holmes’ potential return might line up directionally with the end of the regular season.  No. 7 IU (17-3) concludes the regular season on Feb. 25 at Maryland.  The Big Ten Tournament runs from March 2 to March 6 in Indianapolis.

Moren was asked on Wednesday if late February was still a rough approximation of a return for Holmes.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Moren said.  “I think you’re going to see her sooner than later.”

Holmes leads Indiana with 17.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. She is also the team leader in blocks with 26 and field goal percentage (61.5 percent).

Cardano-Hillary leaves Illinois game

Starting point guard Nicole Cardano-Hillary left the Illinois game with an apparent foot or ankle injury after landing on an opponent’s foot during the game.  With Indiana up by a large margin, she did not return.

Moren indicated the injury is not cause for concern at this time.

“I think she’s going to be just fine,” Moren said.

Indiana plays five games over a 14-day span to conclude the regular season, beginning on Saturday against Michigan State.  The Hoosiers still have three Big Ten games that were postponed that have not been rescheduled.  It is not clear whether the league will attempt to get those games in.

IU (9-1) is currently tied in the loss column with Michigan (11-1) for first place in the Big Ten.  The Wolverines lead by percentage points, and also own a head-to-head tiebreaker win over the Hoosiers.  Holmes did not play in that contest.

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