This week, Indiana guard Maurice Creek's sad injury history somehow got even sadder. Creek was still recovering from a fractured patella he suffered last season -- his second such injury in his first two years at Indiana -- when he tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg. That injury prompted Creek to have his third major surgery in 22 months. Creek entered Indiana as a highly touted recruit, and his freshman season featured the best pure scoring ability Hoosiers fans had seen in years. Now his entire career is in question. It doesn't get much worse than that.
Creek's first two injuries came on the basketball court in live game action. This one was different: Indiana announced the injury was suffered "away from the basketball court." What, exactly, did that mean? Creek and Indiana coach Tom Crean addressed the media about the injury yesterday, and it turns out Creek's devastating turn of luck really was that: bad luck. From the Indianapolis Star:
Creek said his latest injury happened in the stairwell of his apartment complex. "It was just a slip and a fall, a fall on a stair," he said. "I took a stair wrong and as I was coming down on my left foot, the back of my foot just snapped. There was nothing I could do about it. It was just a freak accident."
Creek said he initially thought he had sprained his ankle but as the pain grew worse he grew more concerned.
It's one thing to injure yourself in a game situation, or to tweak something during the sweaty frenzy of a practice. But to trip on a set of stairs at your apartment? To suffer a season-ending injury in doing so? I mean, does it get any less lucky than that? I don't think it does.
In any case, Creek is taking a positive attitude toward his latest recovery. After all, he's been here before.
"I'm looking at it from the mind-set of 'it happened, it's not the end of the world and I'll be back soon,' '' Creek said. "I can't put my head down. I have to take it one step at a time."
In the meantime, Creek will probably redshirt this season and preserve an extra year of eligibility. If there's a silver lining here, it's that -- according to Crean -- Creek was finally beginning to show flashes of his ability during his recovery this spring. The Achilles tear is an awful injury, but it's one players can recover from; my roommate tore his Achilles last year and is still every bit as fast on the court as he once was. Maybe the longer recovery will allow Creek to forget the knee injuries that hampered his confidence so noticeably last season. Maybe, just maybe, he'll come back stronger than ever.
That's the best hope, anyway. Freaking stairs, man. Terrible.