BLOOMINGTON-D.J. White hasn't been cleared for full contact practice, but it appears the wait for his return will soon be over.
The 6-9, 243-pound sophomore didn't take part in the team's full contact drills at practice Wednesday, but he was able to participate in a handful of drills at the start of practice which involved running up and down the floor and working through the team's offensive sets.
"As of today, I'm just running up and down the court, no contact, just trying to get in shape," said White.
It appears, though, that could be just a matter of days before White is medically cleared to resume practicing with his teammates. He said that the latest x-rays showed the broken bone in his foot has been healing well, and his return is now imminent. He's also reporting no lingering pain in the foot that he broke Nov. 4 in Indiana's exhibition win over St. Joseph's.
"I'm looking forward to Friday and Saturday, that's when I'm hoping to be back," said White.
If he's able to return to the practice floor at the end of the week, it appears to be possible that he could see his first game action Monday when Indiana travels to face Charlotte. If that opportunity does present itself, though, don't expect to see White logging 30 minutes in his first game back.
"We're definitely going to bring him back slow," said IU Coach Mike Davis. "We might even hold him out until Butler (Dec. 23). We aren't going to rush him at all."
While Davis doesn't want to rush White back and risk further injury, the Hoosier coach admitted it was nice to see the preseason All-Big Ten choice once again going through a handful of the team's drills Wednesday.
"It's a nice site," said Davis. "He's jumping like he was, everything is good except his conditioning."
As was the case with A.J. Ratliff, conditioning figures to be an issue once White returns to the floor. Ratliff struggled in his first three games back before breaking out with a 21-point effort Saturday against Kentucky.
Davis was non-committal about the number of minutes White might play in his first game back, but did say he doesn't want him thinking he needs to immediately be the team's go-to player.
"We don't want him to come in thinking he has to score 25 points and get 15 rebounds," said Davis. "If he does that, we'll take it."
Whenever White is ready, he'll team with Marco Killingsworth and Ben Allen to give the Hoosiers a trio of frontliners who can create headaches for opposing teams. Allen, for one, is looking forward to getting the opportunity to play alongside White.
"I'm excited to get D.J. back, because that's another guy they have to stop inside, which will free me up outside even more," said Allen, who is shooting 73.3 percent (11-of-15) from behind the 3-point arc. "On the same note, when they realize that I can shoot they are going to double and we can get it inside to DJ and Marco and we can get dunks all day. I'm excited to get that three-way going."
For Killingsworth, meanwhile, it means teams will have to think twice before double-teaming him in the post.
"You don't want to be double and triple teamed," said White. "I've talked to (Killingsworth) about that. He can't wait for me to get out there so we can free each other up. We complement each other, and we're just waiting for the opportunity to play with one another."
White's Almost Alright
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