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Indiana basketball ‘still evaluating’ health of Xavier Johnson ahead of Big Ten opener



Indiana basketball
Indiana basketball senior guard Xavier Johnson is still getting evaluated and is questionable ahead of Friday night's game vs Maryland. (Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program enters Big Ten play on Friday night with a home matchup against Maryland.

Ahead of the matchup, the biggest question mark is the health of Xavier Johnson. Johnson exited Indiana’s win over Harvard on Sunday shortly before halftime. He tried warming up before the second half but was unable to go.

He was on the bench with ice on his foot and ankle area.

Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson addressed Johnson’s availability on Thursday morning.

“We’re still evaluating X to see where he is,” Woodson said over Zoom. “If he can’t play, it’s the next man up. That’s how it’s always been here. Injuries are part of the game. You know, nothing you can do about it. If he can’t play, then I expect somebody else to step up and play.”

Johnson is averaging 10.5 points, 2.3 assists and is shooting 48.6 percent from the field in six games this year. He is tied for the team-lead in three-point shooting at 5-of-10 this year.

Johnson, who played in just 11 games last season due to a broken foot, was fully healthy to begin this year. In Indiana’s win over Wright State two weeks ago, he rolled his ankle just before the final buzzer.

“Unfortunately X didn’t get a chance to show what he did the first year last season because of his injury, and make no mistake about it, I say it, you guys probably couldn’t see it and didn’t write about it enough, but losing Xavier Johnson last year was huge for our team. I mean, it hurt us. We were able to regroup and recover from it, and a lot of that had to do with Jalen and the supporting cast. We just didn’t feel sorry. We got after it in practice and was able to maintain,” Woodson said at Indiana Basketball Media Day this fall.  “X is back this year, and again, like I said, he’s done it a little bit longer than most of the young men that we’ve got on our team, so I expect more. He’s wearing that captain title on his head, so you’ve got to give me more, you’ve got to do more to help us win basketball games, and he will.”

Indiana (5-1) faces Maryland (4-3) at 7:00 pm ET on Big Ten Network on Friday.

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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.