Illinois has been hit with the injury bug as badly as any team in the country this preseason as a handful of key players have missed significant time. While freshman guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, sophomore forward Leron Black and junior guard Kendrick Nunn are all recovering from injury, head coach John Groce had positive things to say about all three players this week in a report from The Pantagraph’s Mark Tupper.
Coleman-Lands has returned to practice after dealing with a stress fracture in his lower left leg and he could get minutes in Illinois’ exhibition against Illinois-Springfield this weekend. Black is able to do non-contact work after having knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus while Nunn received some positive news from his doctor after having surgery to repair a tendon in his left thumb.
With three key players being out, Illinois has given extra reps to freshmen like Aaron Jordan and D.J. Williams while redshirt freshman Michael Finke and graduate transfer point guard Khalid Lewis have also received more burn. It’s looking like Illinois could at least get all three injured players back by the time Big Ten season begins, which would be a huge boost to the Illini’s lineup.