Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Still A Lot For Creek To Accomplish; Big Ten Honors Wynn

So what do you do if you’re Indiana junior guard Maurice Creek and life slams you with yet another body blow? How do you handle a third major injury that forces you to face early what all of us face eventually:

Reality doesn’t always match dreams.

Creek’s torn Achilles tendon –- he had surgery on Monday -- doesn’t end his basketball career, although it almost certainly ends his season. Let’s face it. Peyton Manning has a better chance of playing for the Colts this year than Creek has of playing for the Hoosiers.

Surgery to repain this kind of injury normally takes six to nine months to recover from. And that’s just to get healthy. In terms of regaining your basketball form, strength and conditioning, it probably will be longer.

In truth, there’s no rush. The No. 1 priority is to get back to full healthy and Creek has the advantage of a IU’s powerhouse training staff directed by Tim Garl.

It’s hard to know what kind of factor Creek would have been this season anyway. He still wasn’t fully recovered from last year’s knee surgery for a stress fracture in his right kneecap, which might have been the result of the previous year’s fractured left kneecap.

All these injuries have basically cost Creek three years of development. That’s a shame, but it’s not tragic.

Creek had shown All-America flashes as a freshman, when he put up 31 points against Kentucky in Assembly Hall and led all freshmen scorers in the nation with a 16.4 average.

Then he got hurt, missed the entire Big Ten season, then got hurt again. In 30 career college games he’s averaged 11.5 points and shot 37.1 percent from three-point range.

The official IU release said the torn Achilles tendon has not affected his knee injuries. It obviously stops his rehab from that, which is another hurdle he faces.

There is the tendency to ask, “Why me?” That’s a question Purdue’s Robbie Hummel has also asked after two blown ACLs. There is no good answer. In life, you face adversity. You can’t control that, but you can control how you respond to it.

Creek might eventually overcome all these injuries and become a major basketball force.

He might.

For now, it’s all about healing and supporting his Hoosier teammates, who have a chance for a return-to-glory season. Coach Tom Crean will make sure Creek is part of the process, perhaps as a quasi coach as Hummel was last year.

When you get old life takes things away from you. That’s the way it is. Creek isn’t old, but he’s still lost some things. No matter. He hasn’t lost everything. There are still a million things he can do if playing basketball is no longer in his future.

Here’s hoping he achieves them.


Shane Wynn got the reward for his huge game against Illinois by winning Big Ten freshman of the week honors. He’s just the third Hoosier to ever win the award, joining tailback D’Angelo Roberts and kicker Mitch Ewald.

He returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and wound up with 148 kick return yards. That’s a true freshman school record and the seventh-best total in IU history. He also had one catch for eight yards for 156 all-purpose yards.

His kickoff return was the fourth longest in school history behind three 100-yard efforts.

For the season Wynn has 10 catches for 95 yards, 432 kick return yards and 527 all-purpose yards.


Quarterback Dusty Kiel’s ankle injury suffered against Illinois kept him from practicing on Monday. However, quarterback Ed Wright-Baker, who has had his own ankle injuries, did practice. So did freshman quarterback Tre Roberson.

Figure Wright-Baker will start Saturday at No. 4 Wisconsin.

Also, linebacker Leon Beckum might be back. He’s been out since the season-opening loss against Ball State because of a knee injury. Co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler said Beckum practiced on Monday.

“I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to play, but he was flying around out there. It’s pretty encouraging. Before he got hurt he was one of our best defensive players by far. Our objective is to put the best 11 on the field and he’s definitely one of them.”

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