By Todd Golden
TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State guard Jake Kelly saw no point in sugar-coating his disappointment after he found out he was lost for the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee, an injury suffered during ISU’s 70-52 loss at Southern Illinois on Tuesday.
“I was pretty sad about it. Basketball is something I’ve always been able to have no matter what. It’s always been there for me. Now, I can’t play for at least three or four months. It sucks,” Kelly said. “I’ve never missed a game, now I have to miss the rest of the season. I probably won’t be able to redshirt [ISU intends to file for a medical waiver], so I’ll have used up a year of eligibility. It’s hard, but there’s nothing I can do about it, I just have to keep working.”
Kelly suffered the injury Tuesday after he was fouled on a second-half breakaway by SIU’s Carlton Fay. The initial diagnosis was a MCL sprain, but a MRI revealed the ACL tear Wednesday.
Kelly said he’ll have surgery on the knee as soon as possible. The surgery could take place as early as next week or as long as it takes for the sweeling to dissipate. After surgery, Kelly anticipates nine months of rehabilitation.
“I’m going to be more of a vocal leader on the bench and do what I can without being on the court,” Kelly said.
Kelly has never suffered any knee injury nor any injury at all that has kept him out of action for an extended period of time.
“I’m just looking at it as another challenge. Life throws you a lot of curveballs and it’s not always the picture you think it’s going to be. Sometimes you just adjust, keep fighting and move on,” Kelly said.
I I I
n Creighton men visit Hulman Center — For reasons unknown to anyone outside the Missouri Valley Conference offices, the Indiana State-Creighton has become a New Year’s tradition.
This is the third year running ISU and Creighton have played on or around Jan. 1 at Hulman Center. It’s become the conference’s Rose Bowl of sorts.
However, neither team is in any mood to break out floats and have a parade. With both the Sycamores and Bluejays at 0-1 in the conference and with question marks looming over both sides, this game might be as pivotal as an early-season meeting gets.
The Bluejays are 5-7 and lost to conference favorite Northern Iowa 60-52 at home on Tuesday. Creighton’s record is a bit misleading, as its difficult nonconference schedule has played a large role in the mark. Creighton has lost to Michigan, Xavier, Dayton, New Mexico, George Mason and UNI — all but UNI were on the road or on a neutral floor.
Only one Bluejay — center Kenny Lawson Jr. — is averaging double-figure points per game. Lawson averages 11.3 points per game. Creighton has also struggled with turnovers, averaging 14.8 per game, and are eighth in the conference in 3-point shooting.
Meanwhile, ISU (8-4) has to adjust to life without Kelly. The point guard spot is secure — Harry Marshall will run the show — but other guards who have received semi-regular playing time, such as Jordan Printy and Aaron Carter, will play more of a role than they have to date.
“It’s obviously a disappointment for all of us with Jake going down, but our expectation level hasn’t changed. We still expect to fit and compete in every game,” ISU coach Kevin McKenna said. “We just have to rally, that’s how I feel about it. We can still have a good season, there’s no reason why we can’t.”
ISU must also limit its turnovers. The Sycamores had 22 against SIU on Tuesday. For the season, ISU’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 119-to-165.