BLOOMINGTON-As Indiana prepares for a Wednesday encounter with a Michigan State team in desperate need of a conference win, IU hopes D.J. White will be ready to make a big contribution.
There are some concerns, though, if that will be the case. While White's minutes didn't appear to be limited in Indiana's 81-79 win Saturday over Ohio State, the 6-9, 242-pound sophomore was noticeably limping when he was on the floor, appearing to favor the same left foot that he broke in Indiana's exhibition opener against St. Joseph's (Ind.).
There are unconfirmed reports that White is once again wearing a protective boot on his left foot, and Indiana is expected to release a statement regarding White's status later this afternoon.
IU Coach Mike Davis, meanwhile, gave no indications that White had re-injured the foot during Tuesday's Big Ten Teleconference, instead saying it's still a matter of him getting himself back to where he was at the season's start.
"I think he's about 45 percent, 50 percent," said Davis. "He's no where near were he was when he was playing at the beginning (of the season)…his rhythm is no where near where it needs to be or what it's going to be."
White returned to the floor Dec. 18, and he's averaging 9.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. But his playing time has been limited, averaging 17.8 minutes in the five games, all Indiana wins.
"As a coach and as fans we want him to be where he was last year, at least, now," said Davis.
White isn't there, at least not yet. As a freshman, White earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors after leading all league newcomers in scoring (13.3 points/game), blocks (2.2/game) and field goal percentage (.572).
White has been a factor in his five games back, just not as big as many expected after his success a year ago.
"The one thing he is doing for us is he's blocking shots and rebounding the basketball," said Davis.
Davis said it's just a matter of time before White regains the form he had a year ago, and once he does he'll reclaim his position as one of the most dangerous big men in the conference on both ends of the floor.
"He's going to be very, very, very good once he comes back to full strength," said Davis.
What's The Status Of D.J. White?
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