Indiana sophomore Austin Etherington will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season after undergoing surgery Sunday morning to repair a fractured patella in his left knee, the school announced Sunday.
Etherington suffered the injury during Indiana’s 100-69 win over Central Connecticut State Saturday.
“Anytime you lose a valued member of your program it not only hurts the team, but also everyone’s hearts,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean in a statement.
“Austin has been doing an excellent job improving and now we have to help him overcome this setback and move forward. Our players have experience in this area and everyone is looking forward to helping him recover. As serious as his injury was, we are thankful that it was not worse. We have such an outstanding medical team I could not imagine going through something like this without them. We are fortunate to have them.”
Etherington saw action in seven games this season, averaging 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. He is a native of Cicero, Ind., and was a three-star prospect coming out of high school from the Class of 2011.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.