Iowa Men's Basketball

All hands on deck for Iowa men's basketball vs. Ohio State ... maybe

Tyler Cook says he should be good to go Saturday

Iowa forward Tyler Cook (5) puts up a shot as Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson (34) defends him during OSU's 92-81 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on 1.4.18. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa forward Tyler Cook (5) puts up a shot as Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson (34) defends him during OSU's 92-81 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on 1.4.18. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — After Iowa’s 73-63 men’s basketball win at Northwestern Wednesday night, the Hawkeyes’ Luka Garza was interviewed in a Welsh-Ryan Arena hallway while he had a shoe on his left foot and nothing on his right foot.

Garza chipped a nail on a small toe during the game and applied glue to the nail afterward, so it needed time to dry. It almost was a cause for celebration for him and his team because it was such a minor thing.

Friday, Garza was asked how often his team has practiced at full-strength this season. He paused to think, then said “I don’t know if we ever have.”

Garza missed weeks of practice before the season because he had a September surgery for a benign cyst in his abdomen. Jordan Bohannon missed two weeks of practice and the Hawkeyes’ exhibition game against Guilford because of a bruised hip bone.

After Iowa’s first game, Cordell Pemsl announced he was redshirting to have knee surgery. He came back, however, for the mid-December game against Iowa State. Then he shut it down for the season and got the surgery last month.

Joe Wieskamp left the game at Michigan State with a sprained ankle, but missed no games. Ryan Kriener left the game against Western Carolina with a twisted ankle, but missed no games. Riley Till sprained an ankle in practice and was held out of a game.

Connor McCaffery suffered a concussion in the Western Carolina game and missed a game. Garza was out for three games with a sprained ankle before returning last Sunday.

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Then, team leading-scorer/rebounder Tyler Cook was withheld from that Northwestern win because of a sore right knee.

“I’m pretty confident I’ll be playing tomorrow,” Cook said Friday. He said the knee issue had been going on for a couple weeks.

“I was able to play through it,” he said. “It wasn’t an issue before. It just got tight on me before (Wednesday’s) game and I didn’t feel it was smart to go out there. I feel a lot better now.”

“(Red-shirted forward) Jack Nunge, he has a stress fracture,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “So he’s out for six weeks, so even if we wanted to play him, we couldn’t.

“We’ve had more sprained ankles than I’ve ever seen, ever, and that’s just bad luck. The kids are taped, and they’re in shape.

“Luckily we have a deep enough roster. It’s interesting because we decide to redshirt two guys (Nunge and freshman guard C.J. Fredrick), and now we have to redshirt three guys.”

No. 25 Iowa (2-3 in the Big Ten) will have all its non-redshirted players available for Saturday’s 1:37 p.m. game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against No. 17 Ohio State (2-2). Probably. Maybe.

“We only don’t play if it’s really hurting,” said Garza. “A lot of people are playing through different stuff because that’s just how we’re built. We’re strong-minded and would play and help our team in any capacity we can.”

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The Hawkeyes need Cook and Garza against Ohio State’s 6-foot-9, 270-pound sophomore Kaleb Wesson and his 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

As for sitting out Wednesday’s game, “That sucked, honestly,” Cook said.

“I forgot what that felt like because I hadn’t sat out since my freshman year.

“I felt like I needed to coach. But we’ve got coaches for that.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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