Bloomington, Ind. – An MRI on D.J. White's left knee revealed no structural damage, but his status remains very much in doubt for Tuesday's game against Purdue.
IU Coach Kelvin Sampson said White underwent the MRI Sunday morning and it came back negative. While that eased fears that the Hoosiers' leading rebounder and second-leading scorer might be lost of the season, his status for Tuesday night's battle with Big Ten leader Purdue remains unclear.
"I think it's too early to tell," Sampson said. "I'd say at best he'd be iffy."
White suffered the injury with 4:55 remaining in the first half of Saturday's 80-61 win over Michigan State. White drove the baseline and elevated for a shot, but landed awkwardly after getting his attempt blocked by Spartan center Idong Ibok. He went to the floor immediately holding the back of his left knee and had to be helped off the court and into the locker room.
Sampson said he could tell right away that worst-case scenarios were running through White's head as he left the floor.
"He was afraid," Sampson said. "When it first happened to him, I think the normal reaction is, this is going to be bad. When I saw him it was real briefly, and you could tell he was fearful of what it could be. But since then our doctors have calmed him down."
While the MRI results were comforting, White still suffered a knee sprain and could have possibly hyperextended it as well. That could be enough to keep him sidelined for tomorrow night's match-up with Purdue.
"The confidence of playing it at the level he was playing on it before will determine whether he can play or not," Sampson said.
If White is unable to go, the Hoosiers will likely count on DeAndre Thomas for some low-post production. After playing sporadically in recent weeks, Thomas scored 10 points in 16 minutes against Michigan State and helped fill the void created by White's absence.
While Thomas' playing was an encouraging sign, Sampson knows Purdue will be a tough test, particularly if White is seated next to him.
"I don't even want to think about it," Sampson said. "That would be a tough, tough loss. The second half (against Michigan State) we played without him and we had a lot of kids step up and play well. But you're noot going to replace D.J. with one guy. It would take an unbelievable, collective team effort."
MRI Is Negative, But White's Status In Doubt
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