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Robbie Hummel to return in 2011-12

Robbie Hummel isn't giving up on college basketball. Instead, according to his father, Glenn Hummel, Robbie is likely to rehab his knee, enroll in graduate school at Purdue, and return for the 2011-12 season. The plan for now, according to Glenn, is to wait until the swelling goes down and have surgery over Thanksgiving break, when Hummel won't have to miss classes.

The silver lining, if you can really call it that, is that the timing of the injury and surgery will give the Purdue forward a much more forgiving rehab timeline. Instead of attempting to get floor-ready in seven months, Hummel will have almost 12.

And, in other good news, Hummel appears to be doing OK with the injury.

"I just got off the phone with Rob, and he is doing surprisingly well," Glenn Hummel said. "In fact, he was headed to a group project meeting for one of his classes.

"He is getting around OK and going to practice [as a spectator]. It's a shame, because he was on target . . . moving better and shooting well. Don't write him off just yet. The tough thing is that he won't finish his Purdue career with JaJuan [Johnson] and E'Twaun [Moore]."

Given the ultra-depressing way he's suffered his back-to-back ACL tears -- the first a few weeks before a promising NCAA tournament run, the second a few weeks before a promising NCAA title-potential senior season -- that's pretty admirable. It's also good news for Purdue, because having Robbie Hummel back for another year can only be a boost for your team.

Still, there's no getting around the last part of Glenn Hummel's quote. Robbie won't be finishing his career with Johnson and Moore. He won't be a part of this year's team, and Johnson and Moore won't be a part of the 2011-12 Boilermakers, a team that will look much different from the trio-led groups we've seen in West Lafayette, Ind. over the past three years.

This year's Purdue team might not take as much of a dip as some people think; the Boilermakers have much more time to adjust to Hummel's absence this year, and the replacement-level play they get from their band of reserves and incoming freshmen should keep them hovering around the top 15 for much of the season. It'd be a mistake to write off Purdue in 2010-11, and it'd be a mistake to write off Hummel in 2011-12.

It's good to hear we haven't seen the last of Hummel yet. But, still: Depressing stuff.