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Indiana basketball guard Xavier Johnson returns to full contact at practice



Indiana basketball Xavier Johnson
Indiana basketball starting point guard Xavier Johnson is progressing in his rehab and could be returning to the floor in early January. (Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

With the resumption of Big Ten play next week, Indiana basketball is looking to get back to full health and that starts with point guard Xavier Johnson.

Johnson, who has missed the last seven games with a foot injury, is slowly progressing back from an injury he suffered on Nov. 26 against Harvard. He exited the game shortly before halftime. After trying to warm up before the start of the second half, he was unable to go.

He hasn’t seen the floor since.

On Friday night during Indiana basketball’s 100-87 win over Kennesaw State, it was reported on the broadcast that Johnson’s first day of full contact practice since his injury was on Thursday. While it’s still in a limited capacity, it’s a very positive sign for him returning to game action.

Johnson is averaging 10.5 points, 2.3 assists and is shooting 48.6 percent from the field in six games this year.

Johnson had been wearing a boot on his foot since the injury, but last week was the first time he appeared on the bench without one on. That progression continued with him shooting off of both feet before Friday’s game.

“Well, it’s been tough for him. I mean, you go back-to-back years where you’re not playing basketball. We went into this season expecting him to be on the floor. He’s not there,” Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson said last week. “I know it’s tough on him. It’s tough on us. But we got to keep marching along based on who we got in uniform until he gets back. When that is, I don’t know yet. I just don’t.”

Johnson, who played in just 11 games last season due to a broken foot, was fully healthy to begin this year.

In 51 career games for the Indiana basketball program, Johnson is averaging 11.5 points and 4.7 assists per game. He is also shooting 41.4 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent from three on 2.6 attempts per game.

The assumption is Johnson will be back within the first two weeks of January.

Indiana basketball plays at Nebraska on Jan. 3. Then, the Hoosiers return home to play Ohio State on Jan. 6.

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.