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Indiana's run of bad luck continues with injury to Watford

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

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The latest blow for Indiana might be the toughest one to absorb.

Already without sophomore guard Maurice Creek and junior guard Verdell Jones III, the Hoosiers learned early this week that they'll be without leading scorer and rebounder Christian Watford for the foreseeable future.

Watford suffered a broken left hand on Sunday in an 84-83 overtime loss at Michigan State, and on Tuesday had surgery to repair the damage. No timetable is available yet for the 6-foot-8 sophomore's return.

He's averaging 17 points and 5.8 rebounds this season for the struggling Hoosiers, who are just 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten. It's been a difficult year for IU, who after going 5-31 in Big Ten play in the first two years of the Tom Crean Era were expected to finally make a leap.

"I really feel terrible for Christian. Not just because of going through surgery today but also because he really played with a edge Sunday," Crean tweeted on Tuesday evening. "Thats how he needs to play and it hurts that he wont get to do that for awhile. Its my responsibility to help get that out of him."

Dealing with the injuries have been tough enough, but making it harder is that all three have occurred in a span of just over two weeks after the Hoosiers were already off to a disappointing 10-8 start.

Creek had season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right kneecap, which came a little more than a year after he suffered the same injury in his left knee and cost him the better part of a promising freshman campaign.

After averaging 16.4 points on 52.7 percent shooting in 12 games last season, Creek struggled to be that guy again as a sophomore, with those numbers dipping to 8.3 and 38.9, respectively, in 18 games this season.

Jones was averaging 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds in five Big Ten games this season before missing the last three with right knee soreness, and it's still unknown when he'll be back.

Since Creek went down, IU is just 1-3, with the lone win coming at home against an Illinois team that shot a paltry 32.2 percent from the floor that night.

After the game, Crean's celebration with students in a lobby at Assembly Hall looked a bit excessive. If he can manage some wins without three of his top four scorers in the coming weeks, no matter who they come against, similar moments will be more understandable.

Ryan Greene covers UNLV and the Mountain West Conference for the Las Vegas Sun. Read his Rebels coverage and follow him on Twitter.

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