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Indiana basketball releases injury report ahead of matchup with Nebraska



Indiana basketball
Taking a look at the injury report for the Indiana basketball program ahead of Wednesday night's matchup with Nebraska. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program hits the hardwood for game number 14 of the 2023-24 season on Wednesday night and released its official injury report this afternoon.

The Big Ten began with its weekly availability report for football this season and announced that it would be conducting the same schedule with basketball. It was announced that programs will have to release their injury reports three hours before tip.

For Indiana, its injury report listed guard Xavier Johnson and forwards Kel’el Ware and Payton Sparks as questionable.

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.

The expectation is that Johnson would return in early January. There is a high likelihood that Johnson plays on Wednesday.

In 12 games, Ware is averaging 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He is shooting 55.1 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent on 3s.

Ware has been tremendous through the first two months of the season. He has four double-doubles and 11 games with 10+ points. In two Big Ten games he is averaging 15.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

Ware missed last week’s matchup with Kennesaw State with Covid, according to reports.

Sparks is coming off of his best game in his Indiana career. He started in place of Ware and had 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 14 minutes.

“I’m sure it’s special for him. This is his first big-time start. And as a coach, I’m anxious to see if he’s ready to play because he hadn’t played big minutes,” Woodson said of Sparks. “And he only played 14 minutes tonight, but I thought they were a positive 14 minutes to help us win a basketball game.”

Sparks is averaging 2.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game.

Indiana takes on Nebraska at 9:00 pm ET on BTN.

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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.