Iowa Men's Basketball

Iowa basketball: Hurting Hawkeyes hit the road again at Nebraska

Iowa plays at Nebraska Tuesday with CJ Fredrick's status unclear

Iowa basketball guard Bakari Evelyn (4) rubs the head of teammate CJ Fredrick (5) after their win over Kennesaw State la
Iowa basketball guard Bakari Evelyn (4) rubs the head of teammate CJ Fredrick (5) after their win over Kennesaw State last Dec. 29 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fredrick's status for Tuesday's game at Nebraska is uncertain because of an injury. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

If you’re an Iowa men’s basketball player and you’re in good health today, you’re in an exclusive club.

The Hawkeyes may enter their game at Nebraska Tuesday night more short-handed than they’ve been yet this season.

Fran McCaffery used just seven players in the second half Saturday in Iowa’s 89-86 loss to Penn State in Philadelphia. One who played, guard Connor McCaffery, was sick. His coach/father said Monday his son/player was “throwing up all day yesterday,” but was better Monday.

Meanwhile, starting freshman guard CJ Fredrick didn’t play in Saturday’s second half, and his status for Tuesday was uncertain. Fredrick has what has been described as a foot/ankle injury. It is not a sprain, Fran McCaffery said.

Fredrick played 14 minutes in the first half of Saturday’s game.

“I think we’ll know a lot more about that in the next day or so,” McCaffery said late Monday morning. “I’m not ducking the question. We’re looking at a variety of things with him. We want to make sure before we run him back out there that he’s ready to go. Clearly, he was not ready to go in the second half.

“When your trainer says you can’t go, then you shut him down. You’re out, next man up. That’s kind of how it was, that’s kind of how it is right now. Until I hear otherwise, that’s how it is.”

Fredrick averages 10.3 points and 26.2 minutes per game, so he’s obviously a significant part of the Hawkeyes’ player rotation, which had already shrunk this season because of the season-ending knee injury of forward Jack Nunge and the medical issues that have kept freshman forward Patrick McCaffery from playing in most of this season.

Things looked bad for senior big man Ryan Kriener on Saturday when he was down on the court with a second-half knee injury, but Kriener returned from the locker room to re-enter the game.

“He’s doing pretty well,” McCaffery said. “I was really concerned about him when I went on the floor. He was hurting.

“He’s a tough kid. Once they figured out it was nothing serious, he said ‘I can go back in.’ He looks OK.”

In fact, Kriener will probably start at Nebraska if Fredrick can’t.

Here’s how things are going health-wise for the Hawkeyes: Sophomore walk-on guard Austin Ash of Mount Vernon is recovering from mono. McCaffery said he’d be using Ash, a 3-point specialist, were it not for the illness.

At least Luka Garza, Joe Wieskamp and Joe Toussaint are healthy. The trio combined for all but 11 of Iowa’s 86 points Saturday. Garza and Wieskamp played the entire second half. Toussaint had a career-high 18 points and four assists, and was named the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week Monday.

“It was an incredibly hostile environment and he performed incredibly well against a ranked opponent,” McCaffery said.

The Hawkeyes got home from Philadelphia Saturday night and took off for Lincoln Monday. In between was a Sunday “practice,” without Fredrick or Connor McCaffery.

“We didn’t do anything real physical,” the coach said.

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

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