This happens too much to us.
The injury bug gets to us late in the season. We stay healthy for the majority of the year, and it gets us late.
Is it happening again?
It just surfaced last week that Carsen Edwards has been dealing with some back tightness for a while now.
Is that the cause of his slump over the past ten games? This is a span where he has only shot only 33%. Probably not, more has played into it than that.
But, a back injury lingers, especially if it is a pulled muscle in the back. But, to me, this type of luck is what has happened just too often to Purdue late in the season.
In my uneducated opinion, this team is more ready for March than the recent sweet 16 teams we have had. Guards win games in the tournament, we have the best trio of guards we have had in a long time with Carsen, Nojel and Ryan.
Cline, a guy who has been shooting near 50% since B1G play started, Nojel a guy who can guard anyone and has also found his offense, lastly Carsen Edwards, the two time All-American, who can do it all when he is on.
But, lets look at the past a bit.
Last season, it was Isaac Haas during the NCAA Tournament. Purdue was a popular pick to make the elite 8 and even the final 4. We had a senior lead team, an All-American Sophomore and a sharp shooter off the bench.
Then, he was hooked and thrown to the ground. The hook and hold can now get a flagrant one in college basketball, it is known as the “Isaac Haas Rule”.
The engineers at Purdue threw a brace together, and he was allowed to play in the Sweet 16, but Coach Painter opted out. The Boilers lose by 13 to Texas Tech, a game where they had no one to guard the dominant big man.
Now, we will have to jump back a little further for this injury. The year is 2010, Purdue is at The Barn, it is late February. This was a team with 3 future NBA players, Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twuan Moore.
This was a Purdue team that once peaked to Number Three in the nation, with a 23-3 record. Another year as a popular pick to make the Final 4, then the ACL happened.
It was okay though. We had all three returning for their senior season, after a Sweet 16 berth without Robbie Hummel.
Preseason workouts were commencing, it was a Saturday Morning workout, with a home football game that afternoon. I remember the update, “Robbie Hummel as re-torn his ACL and will miss the 2010-2011 season”.
A time where Purdue football was just average, Purdue Basketball was the talk of the town. Three returning seniors with NBA Potential, now this.
Purdue makes another run to the Sweet 16, lead by 1st Team All-American JaJuan Johnson and 3rd Team All-American, E’Twaun Moore
Now, lets jump all the way back to 1994.
Purdue was a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Actually a favorite to win it all that year, at minimum a final 4 appearance.
This was a year Purdue broke thru the Sweet 16 barrier and made the elite 8, where we would face Duke.
But after the win in the Sweet 16 game, Big Dog tweaked his back, the night before the elite 8 game vs Duke.. Glenn Robinson was averaging 30 points per game and 10 rebounds per game that season, the future number 1 overall pick was a man among boys, children, really.
In the Sweet 16 game vs Kansas, he put on one of the best college basketball performances ever. Against Kansas, he scored 44 points, 30 in the first half, stuff of legends.
In the elite 8 game, Purdue would lose, 69-60. Glenn Robinson only scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, on 6 of 22 shooting. This may have been the best chance for Purdue to make the final 4 of all the ones listed above.
Now, we are present day.
In the middle of a 33% shooting drought, Carsen Edwards is also wrestling with a sore back. Something, I do not think Coach Painter wanted to surface. With his latest press conference, he was asked about the injury and he said “You will have to ask Carsen”, making me think this was leaked to the media, by an All-American Guard.
Purdue, a 3 seed, is primed to make a run. Carsen has carried this team on his back for most of the season. Now, the season will be decided, literally, because of the back of Carsen Edwards. Will we see a run this year? A sweet 16 appearance? An early exit?
We will soon find out.
As for the back injury lingering...