Purdue Boilermakers center Isaac Haas had his unique elbow brace cleared by the NCAA on Friday, meaning he's eligible to play in the team's Sweet 16 matchup against Texas Tech, according to Myron Medcalf of ESPN.com.
Haas has been forced to wear a brace after fracturing his elbow against CSU-Fullerton in the first round of the men's Division I tournament. He hasn't necessarily been cleared to play by his coach just yet, however.
"He needs to show he can do basic things to play," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said in a text to ESPN. "[He] has not been able to do those things."
Haas, a senior who is second on the team in scoring (14.7 PPG), rebounding (5.7 RPG) and blocks (1.2 BPG), didn't play in the team's second-round win over Butler.
But a group of Purdue's engineering students crafted him a leather elbow brace that conforms to the NCAA's standard that "prohibits the use of any non-pliable substance in a brace," per Medcalf.
"We talked with the athletic trainers to see what the actual issues were with the current brace and came up with the design goals we had to meet," Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, Eric Nauman, told Dave Bangert of the Journal & Courier. "It's the exact same process that we teach our students every semester, except we were doing it in 30 hours."
The NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, Dan Gavitt, also announced that the organizing body had somewhat tweaked its interpretations of the brace rules:
"With ample time this week to review the intent of the playing rule, the [rules] committee decided to provide a more contemporary interpretation while keeping health and safety for all players the highest priority. Technology has improved materials used in braces, so now there will be more flexibility in applying the rule as long as the brace is fully covered and padded. Isaac and other players in similar circumstances should be able to play, as long as the brace is safe for all."
That's good news for Purdue. Well, if Haas is cleared to play by the training and coaching staffs, that is.