DECKER: Injuries A Part of Hoosiers' History

Bloomington - There's no downplaying the significance of Maurice Creek's injury to the Hoosiers' fortunes this season. But in the history of IU basketball, a handful of others have had an even greater impact on the teams' quests for Big Ten and NCAA championships...

There's one thing we know as Indiana prepares to open Big Ten play on Thursday.

Maurice Creek's injury is going to have a significant impact on the Hoosiers' fortunes.

How can it not? While his absence will create opportunities for Jordan Hulls to continue to develop, for Devan Dumes to play a more significant offensive role, and for Verdell Jones to recapture some of his magic from the end of his freshman campaign, Indiana's young basketball isn't equipped to simply absorb the loss of its most prolific scorer and move on.

This one hurts. A lot.

As devastating as this injury is to this year's Indiana team, it's far from the most significant in the history of the program. Here's a look at some of the other injuries that have hit the IU basketball program hard:

1. Alan Henderson's knee in 1993 – The Calbert Cheaney-led squad was ranked No. 1 in the nation and seemed primed for a march to IU's sixth NCAA title. But in mid-February, Henderson went down with a torn ACL in practice that dealt a serious blow to a team that wasn't especially deep. Henderson did attempt to play late in the season with a heavy brace, but wasn't nearly the same player. Indiana ultimately lost to Kansas 83-77 in the Midwest Regional final in St. Louis, ending its season at 31-4.

2. Scott May's broken arm in 1975 – Indiana was 26-0 and appeared destined to roll to an undefeated season. But the junior forward suffered a broken arm against Purdue in late February, ending his season. The Hoosiers would go on to win their next five games, but their quest for a perfect season ended with a 92-90 loss to Kentucky in the regional finals. The significance of that injury was eased by the fact May returned the following season and led IU to a perfect 32-0 season and the national title that had eluded him and the Hoosiers the season before.

3. Randy Wittman's foot in 1979-80 – Mike Woodson's back surgery is the most talked about injury from the 1980 season, but it was Wittman's season-ending foot injury that probably had the biggest impact on the Hoosiers' ultimate fortunes since Woodson ultimately returned late in the year. Wttman, meanwhile, originally injured his foot in the third game against UTEP and it was determined he'd broken his foot two games later. Wittman had averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 assists as a freshman on IU's 1979 NIT championship team and was a big reason why IU was ranked No. 1 before his season-ending injury.

4. Mike Woodson's back in 1979-80 – Few NCAA-title caliber teams in the history of college basketball have had to deal with the type of injuries IU did in 1980, when it lost Wittman in game five and then Woodson in game six due to a back injury and subsequent surgery. Woodson had averaged 21.0 points/game in 1978-79, but was sidelined for 15 games the following year after the surgery. He did return in time to help lead IU to the Big Ten title and he averaged 19.3 points/game in the 14 games he played, but IU bowed out of the NCAA tourney in round two.

5. D.J. White's broken foot in 2005-06 – After a couple of NCAA-less seasons in 2004 and 2005, IU had thoughts of coming back in a big way in 2006 with the likes of White and Robert Vaden plus the addition of Auburn transfers Marco Killingsworth and Lewis Monroe. But in the season's fifth game, White went down with a broken foot and his season was over. Indiana would re-group and earn an NCAA tourney invite and advance to round two, but thoughts of a top-10 team and a Final Four run were out the window following White's injury. Mike Davis stepped down at season's end.

6. Ted Kitchel's back injury in 1983 – After dealing with back problems for a good portion of the season, Kitchel went down for good in late February, was hospitalized, and eventually had surgery. The significance of his injury, though, was lessened by the play of Wittman and the role of the crowd in IU's late season charge that resulted in an improbable Big Ten title. After Kitchel's injury IU slipped into a tie for the Big Ten lead. But IU won its final three games - all at home, and all against teams contending for the conference title. Indiana crushed No. 20 Purdue (64-41), Illinois (67-55) and No. 16 Ohio State (81-60) with Kitchel sidelined to win the league title. Top Stories