Robbie Hummel can relax a little bit. That knee is OK.
Purdue’s senior swingman played his first game Tuesday night in nearly two years, showing off his reliable shot, some toughness and best of all, stability. He scored 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handled a few odd falls. They were to his left knee – the right one’s had two ACL surgeries since Feb. 2010 – but he felt good about the night regardless.
“It was everything I could have hoped for, really,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been getting better every day in practice, and I felt like I was prepared for tonight.
“It’s the first game back, so I don’t really know what helps me at this point. I didn’t want to tighten up. After a while, I felt like I was OK as long as I was sitting with my leg straightened out, I was cool.”
Hummel, a fifth-year senior, is regarded as one of college hoops’ good guys, for his work ethic, skill and refusal to give up after a run of bad luck that’d even make Ren and Stimpy depressed. Even Indiana fans hope Hummel has a healthy season.
And good news for the Boilermakers, who lost all-Big Ten players E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson to graduation. Hummel’s actually playing like the guy he was before the injuries.
“I think it’s good for him to get out there in front of people and play,” coach Matt Painter said. “He’s looked very good in practices. He looks comfortable. The ball goes in. He makes 3s, he makes pull-ups. This is the way he’s looked in practices and scrimmages. He’s been very efficient.”
Hummel hardly wants to just stay healthy this season. He wants to win and he wants to make a run at the Big Ten title. But first things first – he needs to ensure that knee’s not gonna give out on him. This is a healthy first step.
“I think I definitely gained some more confidence, and each time I get hit and knocked down, I get an opportunity to gain confidence.”
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