BLOOMINGTON -- Is there a chance injured Indiana senior swingman Collin Hartman plays this season?
The odds were never good in the aftermath of his fall knee surgery, and they looked even bleaker when coach Tom Crean addressed the issue during a press conference leading up to Tuesday’s crucial Big Ten showdown with No. 13 Wisconsin.
“It would be really hard for him to play,” Crean said. “There’s not a timeline. There’s nothing definitive.”
The 6-6 Hartman is a versatile veteran who can basically play every position except point guard. You can’t have enough of those guys at any time, let alone when you have a potential championship team, which the Hoosiers sometimes seem to be.
Hartman is a steady performer who shoots better than 40 percent from three-point range, knows his role, leads by word as well as example, works hard, goes the extra mile and does what he’s coached to do.
Well, he does that when he’s healthy. For now, Hartman is limited to rehabilitation work and leadership responsibilities.
Hartman missed Saturday’s Louisville loss because his grandfather died last week. Crean said he is now back with the team.
“We missed him a lot the other day on the bench,” Crean said. “He does a lot more than you realize. I could tell he wasn’t there.
“That’s not why we lost. We lost because of what happened on the court. But his leadership is impactful for us.”
Hartman is a former Indianapolis Cathedral standout who has always fully embraced the candy striped pants mystique surrounding the IU program. If he heals fast enough, and has time to condition and knock off the rust, he might return in time for an end-of-season run.
He also could take a medical redshirt and return next season.
Or, as a college graduate with a major in business management, he could begin his post-basketball career or even take a shot with an overseas pro team.
For now, though, nothing is sure except ….
“I don’t have any anticipation of a (return) date (for Hartman),” Crean said. “We’ll let him continue to heal.
“If he wants it, he can redshirt. He’s a college graduate, so it’s a little bit different situation. There’s no question if he didn’t play (this year) and wanted that (a redshirt season), he could have it. We talked about that from the beginning, so it’s not anything we discuss now. He’s put a lot of time into this program. It’s not like we’ve said, we need to plan for this or that. Not yet. Not now.”