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Injured Indiana forward Collin Hartman: Playing this season "a possibility"

Collin Hartman could play this season after all? The Indiana 6-foot-7 senior forward today said it’s possible as, for the first time, he discussed his rehabilitation from a second major knee injury in college.

Collin Hartman could play this season after all?

The Indiana 6-foot-7 senior forward today said it’s possible.

The Indiana All-Star from Indianapolis Cathedral suffered a serious left knee injury on Sept. 20 that required surgery and put his season in question, but he said today he may be able to play this year.

“That’s a possibility,” he said. “I just have to take it day to day. It’s a grueling process. Any time you have to have surgery, it’s not fun. I’ve got good people around me, a great team.

“I’m trying to stay focused on these guys and the season still, trying to get them in the best way I can help in winning position.”

Hartman declined to say what specifically his injury was or what the surgery repaired.

“After every surgery, atrophy is a big thing, regaining muscle and getting the knee stable again, just because I’ve been out for a while and doing rehab,” Hartman said.

“That’s the biggest thing, getting the muscles stronger all around it, the hamstring, the quad, the calf, flexibility, extension — all of that is super big to limiting re-injury. That’s the biggest thing right now.”

Hartman said there is no timetable for when he could return because it depends on how his knee heals and muscles strengthen around it.

“There’s going to be good days, and there’s going to be bad days,” he said.

Jeff Rabjohns,

Hartman does have the option of sitting out this season as a redshirt and returning as a fifth-year senior. Redshirt decisions aren’t technically made until a season is complete and formal paperwork is submitted.

“Coach (Tom Crean) and I have had a very, very brief conversation about it. Obviously, no decisions have been made. We had a brief conversation about it.

“We said we’d talk about it after the season gets rolling, see where I’m at in rehab and stuff of that nature, seeing how this team does.

“That’s really my main focus. This is still the team I want to be with. I love this team, and I want the best for them. … It’ll be a decision when we cross that road.”

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While Hartman is unable to play, Crean said the plan is to have him involved almost like a student coach.

Hartman will sit near the coaches on the bench during the games, Crean said.

“Having played with a lot of these guys and not played with some, I’ll be able to see the game and understand our process. It’ll be a different aspect for the players to have input from, not always getting it from a coach, who you always hear it from every day and you might not relate to what they’re saying as much,” Hartman said.

“And I plan on being somewhat of a mediator, somebody who has been through it very, very recently. I still went through all their workouts this summer, did everything they’ve done this summer.

“I’ve put in the time. I’ve put in the work. There’s a respect level for that work, and just having played the game with a lot of these guys, I can relate.”

Hartman also has another confidant in all this: His mom.

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She had surgery the day after Hartman was hurt.

“We were at home for a few days together. It was a little awkward, a little weird. We’d yell between rooms,” Hartman said with a laugh.

“I think this is her seventh knee surgery. I call her in the mornings sometimes just like ‘How are you doing? What are you doing in rehab today?’

“Just keep her spirits up. If I’m focusing on somebody else, it makes my process easier.”

Hartman tore his right ACL in March of 2014 in a workout. Hartman rehabbed in time to play in 32 games as a sophomore in 2014-15.

Hartman started 24 of the 35 games he played as a junior in 2015-16, averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds.

Hartman was an Indiana All-Star who led Indianapolis Cathedral to the Class 4A state title game as a senior.

At a personal level, an injury is a journey, sometimes inward.

“It does test your mental strength, who you are. You have a lot of down time to figure out who you are and what kind of person you want to be, not just as a basketball player but as a human being and what kind of man you want to be.

“This is another big point for me personally. I can go one of two ways: I can rise to the occasion or I can let it eat me up.”