Indiana’s already-razor thin front court took a major hit on Monday, as Hanner Mosquera-Perea suffered a kneecap injury that could keep him out of the lineup for 2-to-4 weeks, the school has confirmed.
“There is no question this is a blow to Hanner and definitely a blow to our team,” said head coach Tom Crean. “He does a lot for us. The important thing right now is Hanner’s recovery and rehabilitation. He has made a lot of strides this season and we are disappointed for him, but expect him to come back stronger than ever.”
Perea is averaging 7.4 points, 5.0 boards and 1.6 blocks as Indiana’s starting center, but in the last two games he’s managed just a total of 18 minutes due to issues with fouls. He’s the third-leading rebounder on the Hoosiers despite being just one of two true low-post players in the front court.
That lack of size up front has caused Indiana to play small-ball this season, and Perea’s recent struggles have led to many lineups where 6-foot-6 wing Troy Williams is the biggest player on the floor.
“With Hanner out, we will need everyone ready to do a little more,” added Crean. “We need to continue our focus on rebounding, defense and all the little things it takes to be successful. We are not a team where you define a player by his position. We will have five basketball players out there who understand that our court awareness has to be at an all-time high. I expect our players will be up for the challenge.”
In Perea’s absence, freshman Emmitt Holt is expected to start. Holt is averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 boards in 12.3 minutes this season. Expect to see Colin Hartman, who is 6-foot-8 but is known as a shooter, to see increased minutes as well.
If Perea is only out for two weeks, he’d likely miss games against Penn State, Maryland, Illinois and Ohio State, the latter two on the road.