Rob Phinisee carried off injured vs. Penn State; Khristian Lander not ready to step in.

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BLOOMINGTON — IU guard Rob Phinisee’s status is unclear after an apparent leg injury in the first half of IU’s 74-57 win over Penn State. After the game, IU coach Mike Woodson did not have a diagnosis of Phinisee’s injury.

“Don't know right now,” Woodson said. “He's gotta be evaluated probably sometime tomorrow.”

Phinisee did not appear with IU on the bench for the remainder of the game after his injury.

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Indiana's Rob Phinisee (1) drives on Penn State's Greg Lee (5) during the first half of the Indiana versus Penn State men's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Indiana's Rob Phinisee (1) drives on Penn State's Greg Lee (5) during the first half of the Indiana versus Penn State men's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

He appeared to pull-up awkwardly after planting his right foot with just over seven minutes to play in the first half. He immediately stopped, and began reaching for his right ankle. Videos from court level showed his facial expression of one in obvious pain.

Woodson said he did not see the injury, but did see Phinisee come up limping. He knew something was clearly wrong.

Phinisee was carried at first by team doctor Tim Garl and other trainers. He tried to put weight down. He couldn’t.

He was walking back to the bench with the trainers. But he couldn’t do that either.

Phinisee wrapped his arms around teammates and turned straight for the locker room.

Woodson noted needing Khristian Lander has to get healthy as a result of Phinisee’s injury. Lander did not play in IU’s win and hasn’t played since Dec. 22. The student section chanted for him to enter the game, and Woodson said he would have played the former five-star recruit once Phinisee went out if he could have.

“Somehow we gotta get Khristian ready to play,” Woodson said. “He's not ready to play either. That's why he didn't play tonight. We gotta get one of them back."

Woodson did not describe what Lander is dealing with, but said it is “all physical.”

Phinisee was on the shoulders of IU teammates just under a week ago, too. Though that time in the role of hero in the center of a court storm after his 20-point performance carrying IU to a win over Purdue.

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The senior guard has been one of IU’s top bench players this season, especially on the defensive end. His play has improved over the course of the year which coach Mike Woodson has described may come from how he’s helped instill confidence in Phinisee. Woodson has previously said he’s had to undo a lot of things in Phinisee’s head.

Phinisee has played in 16 games for IU this year averaging just over 20 minutes per game. He’s scoring 5.4 points per game, but playing some of the best defensive basketball of his career, now in Woodson’s system.

Michael Durr also did not play Wednesday night. He was out due to a “coach’s decision,” Woodson said.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: IU basketball: Rob Phinisee suffers injury; Khristian Lander not ready

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