Indiana basketball suffered a major blow today, as Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde is reporting that Austin Etherington is done for the season.
The sophomore guard left on a stretcher in the first half of Saturday night’s contest against the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils with what turned out to be a fractured patella.
He underwent surgery on Sunday morning and will now have to support the No. 1 ranked Indiana program from the sidelines instead of on the court this year.
Justin Albers of Inside the Hall found that Hoosier coach Tom Crean had some glowing words about his reserve player, now done for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign:
“Anytime you lose a valued member of your program it not only hurts the team, but also everyone’s hearts,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a release. ” Austin has been doing an excellent job improving and now we have to help him overcome this setback and move forward.
Our players have experience in this area and everyone is looking forward to helping him recover. As serious as his injury was, we are thankful that it was not worse. We have such an outstanding medical team I could not imagine going through something like this without them. We are fortunate to have them.”
Etherington wasn’t a major contributor on the floor, averaging just 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 6.7 minutes per contest, but he put forth a ton of effort when he was out on the court.
The Indiana native was actually injured trying to draw a charge while the Hoosiers were ahead 49-29 with 2:28 left in the first—a game they went on to win 100-69.
While this isn’t an insurmountable injury for Indiana to overcome, it’s still a blow to the team’s depth and the Hoosiers will have to play their starters more minutes or give time to an unproven backup.
The Hoosiers are currently 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls.
We’ll keep you updated right here on B/R when we know more about Tom Crean’s plans to replace Etherington, his prognosis and anything else concerning the Indiana Hoosiers basketball program.