Davis On White, Exhibition

Indiana's head coach talks about injuries to both D.J. White and A.J. Ratliff, along with what his hopes are for Thursday night's exhibition game against Indianapolis.

How disappointing is it to lose D.J. White this early?
"It is disappointing because he was playing so well. But at the same time, I think Sean Kline is playing well. He's a fifth-year senior. You're not replacing a sophomore with a freshman. You're replacing him with a fifth-year senior.

If we started today, we would start with Marco Killingsworth, Sean Kline and Lewis Monroe, three guys who are fifth-year seniors. (Marshall) Strickland is a senior and (Robert) Vaden who is probably order than I am. We have an experienced team. We're definitely going to miss D.J. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He was playing well, and (A.J.) Ratliff is out. So there are two guys we have out that probably could have started for us if they were playing. So we lose two starters and we're not bad still. That's the kind of depth we have.

We had depth, but if we lose anybody else there's no more depth. We're going to have to keep our fingers crossed. We are definitely going to miss D.J. He broke it, and we don't know how long, six to eight weeks. Hopefully it heals quickly."

Do the guards need to rebound better with D.J. out?
"We got out rebounded by Saint Joseph's, so everyone has got to rebound. That has been our problem for the last couple of years, I think, is rebounding. We haven't been a very good rebounding team. Never have been. Coach (Sidney) Green comes in, we are going to put him in charge of it and make sure he focuses on rebounding."

What is the problem with the rebounding?
"I think it is just a matter of not being aware. Because we have tough guys. In the past the problem may have been toughness but when you have Marco (Killingsworth), (Robert) Vaden, Earl (Calloway), (Lewis) Monroe are all tough guys. So, I think it is just a matter of us not doing it. Not being aware of doing. If you watch the tape a lot of our guys kind of just stand around when the ball goes up, on the offensive and defensive end. We just have to build a mentality that every time the ball is shot all five guys go for the board.

If D.J. says he is ready to before the estimated time, will you let him play?
"I'm going to make sure he's ready to go before he plays. Because we have a long Big Ten season with the first two games being home games. If we can get him back by the Ball State game or the Butler game, that would be great for us because we could get him two games under his belt. We're definitely not going to rush it. Whether it be January 5th or 6th, we're not going to rush it. He's too valuable for us to rush.

And Ben Allen is playing well. Ben and Cem (Dinc) now have really stepped up and we can always go small and play Vaden there sometimes. I think (A.J.) Ratliff should be back in a couple of weeks. He should be ready by the A&M game. He's already dribbling and shooting the basketball. We just don't want to get his hand hit. I was focusing more on Kentucky for his return, but I'm not going to say an exact date yet.

What do you know about the type of injury D.J. has?
"It'll make a coach cry. That's what I know. That has been my experience. It took a while to find out because he hurt it on Friday night, they told him six to eight weeks without really knowing for sure. They did the MRI on Monday and we got the results today and they told him six to eight weeks.

Is there a silver lining because Ben Allen might get more playing time?
"We're talking about D.J. White. If somebody said it might be good that he got hurt, no way it's good that he got hurt. I'm not taking anything away from any of our guys because I love the way Sean Kline is playing right now. He might be playing the best basketball he's ever played. But you could still use the depth. We were deeper than any team in our conference. I'm not saying we were any better, but we were deeper. To give you an example we lost two possible starters and our team still looked good today.

Better (the injury happened) now than January?
"I don't want to look at it like that because I don't want D.J. to be out. He's in good spirits though."

What are you looking to accomplish in the final exhibition game?
I threw the game plan out the window. Now I just want to get everyone through this game. I was really afraid of the game last Friday night against Saint Joseph's because they had five senior starters. I wasn't sure how we would respond to the crowd. I wanted to play our guys a little more than I did. I ended up playing D.J. 11 minutes and Marco only played 19, I want to get him at least 25. If we can get out of the game healthy, then I don't care what the score is. I don't care if it's a 10-point game. I know they lost by a lot to Indiana State, but I don't even care if we win by five or ten. I just want to make sure we go into the first game healthy. I have no ego about, I know we're good and we're playing well. If I can go the second half without playing our starters at all, I would love to do that.

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