Even at Hoosier Hysteria in mid-October it was clear: sophomore guard Maurice Creek was nowhere near the “95 percent” he claimed to be.
Ten months after suffering a horrific season-ending knee injury in a blowout against Bryant, it was evident that Creek was not the same player he once was. Fans were not seeing the same player that they had witnessed scoring 31 points against a top-five Kentucky team last season.
All season, the IU faithful has been hoping that Creek could return to form. Fans thought the Oxon Hill, Md. native had finally returned to full-strength after he dropped 19 points against Evansville earlier this season, but the sophomore guard has only continued to show he was far from the player he had once been, shooting only 38.9 percent from the field, the second-lowest on the team ahead of walk-on Kory Barnett.
Monday evening, Coach Tom Crean stated in his weekly radio show that Creek would be out indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his right knee, likely suffered when was fouled by Zach Novak going up for a layup in Saturday’s win against Michigan.
Was Creek rushed back from his original injury?
Fans cannot be disappointed in the player’s willingness and drive to get back on the court, but a knee injury such as Creek’s should be given ample time to recover from. Maybe Creek was putting more pressure on his healthy left knee– and on himself to return to form– in order to keep weight off his recovering right knee, which might have led to the stress fracture in his left patella.
Thereâ€™s no denying that a 100 percent Creek would be the most talented player on the court for Tom Creanâ€™s team. However, itâ€™s been obvious since the beginning of the season that Creekâ€™s injury from a year ago has taken its toll on the guard. It is such a tough break for a hard-working kid
While news of Creek’s injury is devastating to hear, especially for Creek himself, Indiana fans should not worry about a drop in production for the team as a whole.
Creek’s injury will likely open an increased role for sharpshooter Matt Roth to provide a three-point threat off the bench. The injury will also create more playing time for freshman Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey. The time on the court will help the young players mature for the grind of Big Ten Conference play, which they will continue to face in the coming years.
As a team, IU is currently shooting 38.7 percent in three-point field goals. Maurice Creek was shooting 31.0 percent from three-point range in his 84 three-point attempts- 16 more than anyone else on the team, down from the 44.8 percent he shot as a freshman. Increased playing time for Roth will make the Hoosiers a deadly opponent from behind-the-arc. Creek’s injury could also lead to Jordan Hulls (51.5 percent) to be more aggressive from three-point land.
Maurice Creek’s injury is horrible news for a good kid who works hard and stays out of trouble, but the Hoosiersâ€™ season is far from over.