TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s August men’s basketball trip to the Bahamas was seemingly all fun and games in the moment.
The bad news came later.
ISU center Michael Samuels, a junior college transfer, and the heir apparent to former starter Myles Walker, broke his right foot during the trip.
According to ISU coach Greg Lansing, Samuels’ injury not a fracture, but his foot “cracked completely”. Samuels will have surgery on Monday.
“We’ll see how things go, but he’s very doubtful before Christmas,” Lansing said.
The 6-foot-11, 285-pound Samuels suffered the injury during the second of ISU’s three exhibition games in the Bahamas. The original diagnosis was that Samuels had a sprained ankle. The Sycamores returned to the United States believing that Samuels’ injury was minor.
However, Samuels continued to suffer pain in his right foot and was re-examined. That’s when the break was discovered.
“I found out when they took X-rays [in late August],” said Samuels, who agreed to have surgery after consulting with his mother. “To hear that news? It wasn’t good at all. When [the doctor] first told me, I was in shock.”
It is possible, though Lansing would not say so, that Samuels’ injury could prevent him from playing during the 2012-13 season. The Christmas time line is considered to be a best-case scenario.
Lansing wouldn’t go so far to rule Samuels out for the year, nor would he say that Samuels would sit out the season as a medical redshirt.
“Surgery and rehab aren’t going to be easy — he’s 285 pounds and has size 18 feet, but I’m certainly not ready to make that determination,” Lansing said. “But if he’s going to miss half the season, you don’t want to waste a year of his eligibility either.”
Samuels’ injury is a major blow to ISU’s inside depth. Samuels — a Bushkill, Pa. native who transferred to ISU from Wabash Valley Junior College — was expected to play major minutes and fill the same role in the paint that former starter Walker did.
Sophomore center Justin Gant (2.4 points per game) and sophomore forward Jake Kitchell (2.3) are the only big men currently on the ISU roster. Both were expected to see their minutes increase this season, but now, both will likely carry a far bigger load.
While Lansing lamented the effect Samuels’ injury will have on the Sycamores, he was also disappointed for Samuels himself.
“He had a helluva summer. He bought into everything we did. He had a good academic summer too,” Lansing said.
Samuels said he hopes to be with the team at every turn as he goes through the rehabilitation process.
“Even though I can’t play, I’ll cheer on my team. I’ll be at workouts, I’ll be at everything I can be,” Samuels said.