Christian Watford out indefinitely
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana coach Tom Crean thought he had the foundation for his rebuilding project in place.
Watford is out indefinitely after having surgery Tuesday to repair a broken left hand. The news comes less than two weeks after Creek had season-ending surgery to fix a stress fracture in his right knee.
"Our road to getting better and our path on how we're going to get there with the people we have took another hit," Crean said after practice. "He had surgery today on his left hand. He broke a bone in his hand, so he'll be out indefinitely."
Watford is Indiana's top scorer (17.0) and rebounder (5.8) and was sixth in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (83.5).
But the timing couldn't be worse for Indiana (11-11, 2-7), which had rallied after losing Creek to play its best basketball of the season and having another one of its leading scorers, Verdell Jones, listed as day-to-day with inflammation in his right knee.
The Hoosiers upset then-No. 20 Illinois last week, their first win over a ranked foe since February 2008, and just missed getting their first road win of the season Sunday at then-No. 25 Michigan State. Watford was injured during the 84-83 overtime loss at East Lansing.
On Wednesday, the Hoosiers will end a three-game run against Top 25 teams when No. 18 Minnesota visits Assembly Hall -- if the weather cooperates. The Gophers left Minneapolis about four hours earlier than scheduled to try and make it in during Indiana's worst winter storm in decades.
Ice coated the roads from Indianapolis to Bloomington on Monday night and a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow was expected to continue into Wednesday.
School officials issued a statement saying they were closely monitoring the weather. But if the Gophers and the officials arrived in town on time, the school said it was "obligated" to play the game unless Monroe County, where Bloomington is located, declared a state of emergency.
Minnesota was in town Tuesday night, team spokesman J.D. Campbell said.
Hours later, Crean said the Hoosiers would be without their top two sophomores.
"We just move, we move forward, there's no way around it," Crean said. "There's no woe is me. We feel for him because he's coming off his best week. He was absolutely relentless on Sunday. He was a huge part of why we had the game that we had.
"You take your leading scorer and your leading rebounder and a guy that can make shots and make plays the way he can, it's going to affect your team. But there's no choice tomorrow night. At 6:30 tomorrow night, we have to be ready to go."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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