Rice Questionable Against Purdue

Will the Illinois leading scorer be ready to go on Wednesday versus Purdue?

CHAMPAIGN – Coach John Groce still wasn't sure if his leading scorer would be a go against Purdue before practice on Tuesday.

Junior Rayvonte Rice (strained adductor) received two rounds of treatment and practiced, but Groce and the Illini training staff will likely make a game time decision.

"I'll trust their judgment, and I'll talk to Ray obviously," Groce said. "We want to do what's best for Ray."

Rice suffered the injury to his groin area in Sunday's loss at Northwestern. Playing through obvious discomfort, Rice scored eight points and hit only two of his 11 shots from the field.

It was the first time in his Illinois career he failed to reach double figures. It was also the first time teammates like junior Tracy Abrams saw Rice be ineffective on the offensive end for the majority of a game.

"You know we've just got to be more together," Abrams said. "We've got to execute more when a guy like Ray is struggling. We need him. That's when we've got to rely on our execution and trust in what coach is going to say."

More will be expected from freshmen Kendrick Nunn, Jaylon Tate and Macolm Hill if Rice can't play in Wednesday's home contest against the Boilermakers. Sophomore Mike LaTulip, who missed Sunday's game (concussion), is likely to be available if needed. Although it's certainly not the desired route, Groce said he's prepared to play without Rice.

"We're going to continue to do what we've done," Groce said. "Obviously other guys are going to have to step up at that point. Guys that have played would be asked to play a little bit more, obviously, but I don't think a whole lot changes in terms of scheme and all those different things. We're going to be who we are, especially on the defensive end."

Abrams on what he'll tell the freshmen if Rice can't suit up: "Just to be confident and trust your teammates and trust in the system and the coaches."


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