INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Crean gave reporters a brief update on Verdell Jones after the senior point guard suffered a severe knee injury in the first half of Indiana’s 75-58 victory over Penn State in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament Thursday.
He didn’t offer many specifics. But his tone conveyed the severity of the situation.
“Well, he's being evaluated now, and we've got a great team of doctors that were with him, obviously, right away. And I was hopeful when he went down that it wasn't as significant, but I'm going to keep holding on to that hope, but I don't obviously feel good about that,” Crean said. “But we've prayed numerous times. It's in the doctors' hands. It's in God's hands. And we're going to just absolutely hope for the best with him.”
Team spokesman J.D. Campbell told ESPN.com that the school will release an update on Jones’ injury Thursday, if one is available.
Jones yelled after he landed awkwardly during an early sequence. He wasn’t touched on the play. The veteran stayed on the ground as trainers and Crean rushed to his side. They held his right knee.
As paramedics walked toward Jones, Crean told them to stay back. Jones, tears dribbling down his face, rose to his feet and refused a wheelchair. But he couldn’t put any weight on his right leg.
The Hoosiers might have to play without Jones during their Friday matchup against Wisconsin. And based on Crean’s postgame mood, it seems as if they’ll probably have to go without him longer than that.
The Hoosiers, however, tried to find the silver lining in their victory.
“I mean, first, Verdell has put so much into this program, so we knew when we saw him go down and out of the game, we knew we had to step up for him,” said Jordan Hulls. “And as a team, we just picked up a lot on the defensive end, and that's really where we were struggling a little bit and not getting the stops that we needed, but we were able to rally around him and stay focused as a team and play hard.”
They’d lost a key piece and still managed to get a big win, albeit against Penn State. They held the Nittany Lions to a 29 percent clip from the field in the second half. They secured a 38-27 rebounding edge.
The Hoosiers shot 44 percent from beyond the arc and went 29-for-36 from the charity stripe.
“It’s hard. But a lot of things like that happen in basketball,” Indiana’s Victor Oladipo told ESPN.com after the game. “We all gonna have to step it up now if he’s not going to be able to play. … Everybody has to step up. The young kids, the bench, the starters, everybody’s gotta step it up in order for us to be successful.”