Injury bug bit Wildcats more than most

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody thought coming into the season that his Wildcats’ roster was deeper than it had been the past few years.

His hope was to be able to use four or five players off the bench and not have to rely so heavily on his starters.

That hasn’t exactly worked out for Carmody.

Injuries have plagued Northwestern as much as anybody in the Big Ten, and the Wildcats have been stuck playing their starters 30-plus minutes. While Ohio State can get away with playing a short bench, Northwestern doesn’t have that luxury.

Against Purdue on Saturday, Carmody called on two subs. He used junior guard Alex Marcotullio to spell an assortment of players, and he played 26 minutes. Senior forward Nick Fruendt was the other sub, and he played just one minute.

The immediate future doesn’t look much brighter for Northwestern’s depth. Carmody said Monday he thought senior center Luka Mirkovic was questionable this week after rolling his ankle, and sophomore guard JerShon Cobb continues to be doubtful due to a hip injury.

“Bad luck? I don’t know what you call it,” Carmody said last week about his team’s injuries. “It’s something.”

Here’s a rundown of Northwestern’s injuries this season:

  • Freshman guard Tre Demps injured his shoulder in August and tried to play through it. He appeared in four games, starting one, and then shut his season down to have surgery.

  • Marcotullio suffered a toe injury early in the season and it has troubled him most of the year. He also had a concussion. He missed four games and was forced to play limited minutes until recently.

  • Cobb underwent hip surgery in the offseason and has been dealing with complications since. Carmody described Cobb’s recent setback as him feeling pain down his leg. He’s played in 11 games this season and has missed the last five contests.

  • Mirkovic: Rolled his ankle in practice last week. He missed Saturday’s game against Purdue and is questionable for Nebraska on Thursday.