INDIANAPOLIS - It took the Indiana Hoosiers more than three years to get back into the top 10. Staying there will depend on how well they play without forward DJ White.
White, last year's Big Ten freshman of the year, is expected to miss four to six weeks - and possibly the rest of the season - with his second foot injury in two months.
"We are definitely going to miss him a lot," coach Mike Davis said Monday. "Before, we knew he was coming back, now we don't know how long it is going to take."
Trainer Tim Garl said doctors were still evaluating the injury but that it was not a recurrence of the stress fracture White suffered in the same foot during a Nov. 4 exhibition game. White missed the Hoosiers' first seven games and didn't return to action until Dec. 19.
This injury, Garl said, occurred during the second half of Saturday's 81-79 victory over then-undefeated Ohio State. White was knocked to the floor and another player inadvertently stepped on his foot. He finished the game Saturday, but afterward Garl said White complained he was sore.
Tests showed damage to another part of the foot.
"Right now the prognosis is really unknown. It depends on how fast he heals, but I would say he is out a minimum of four to six weeks and quite possibly longer," Garl said. "It becomes an issue of not only healing this injury but then also of conditioning. We were just making progress on his conditioning."
White's injury tarnished a day when the Hoosiers (10-2, 2-0) felt like they had finally broken through. Indiana climbed seven spots to No. 9 in the latest poll - its first appearance in the top 10 since Dec. 23, 2002. The Hoosiers started that season 8-0 and were as high as No. 6 before losing back-to-back games to Kentucky and Temple.
The Hoosiers visit Michigan State in their first Big Ten road game Wednesday.
"A lot of coaches say they don't want to be ranked," Davis said on his radio show Monday night. "We want to be ranked. We feel like we've got a really good basketball team this year."
White was a key component in the mix.
Last season, he was Indiana's second-leading scorer (13.3 points) and top rebounder (4.9). This season he was expected to team with Marco Killingsworth to give the Hoosiers one of the Big Ten's best post combinations.
White was averaging 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds.
"It will be hard watching from the bench again, but I am going to support my teammates and help in any way I am able to help," White said in a team statement.
Without White, Indiana must rely more on forward Ben Allen, a freshman from Australia, and forward Sean Kline, a fifth-year senior. Allen is averaging 4.8 points in limited action, while Kline has played a total of four minutes in the last eight games.
If White does not return this season, he would eligible for a medical redshirt. Davis said no decision would be made about redshirting White until he discussed it with White's parents.
So for now, the Hoosiers will face protecting their top 10 ranking without White.
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