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Monday, October 10, 2011
Maurice Creek can't catch a break

By Eamonn Brennan

Maurice Creek, Twitter trending topic. Believe it or not, it happened on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, it happened for entirely negative reasons.

That's because Indiana basketball announced via a release that Creek -- the once-promising, twice-injured guard -- underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn achilles tendon "suffered away from the basketball court in his left leg." His status for the upcoming season is unknown, but it seems likely, given the usual recovery time for torn achilles tendons -- which requires a slow rehabilitation for daily activities before athletic performance can even be considered -- that Creek will miss the entire 2011-12 season.

It's absolutely brutal news for the junior guard. As a freshman, Creek led Indiana in scoring, dropped 31 points in a game versus Kentucky and showed mountains of promise. In December 2009, he suffered a gruesome injury to the patella in his right knee, which caused him to miss the rest of his season.

Creek recovered in time to return to Indiana last season, but struggled to regain the explosive movement and long-distance shot that made him such a promising player as a freshman. Then, in another dire twist, Creek suffered a stress fracture in his left patella, an injury he was still recovering from when this latest news broke. All together, Creek has had three major surgeries on his legs in the last 22 months. The kid just can't catch a break.

"This is a devastating blow for someone who has worked so hard to get himself in a position to help this program again," IU coach Tom Crean said in a statement. "He is going to receive the best medical care possible and we will take his recovery one day at a time. I think the most important thing that we can do is to make Maurice know that despite his injury, he can serve a very vital role in helping our program and we will actively keep him involved every day."

The blow is less devastating to Indiana, which probably didn't expect full contributions from Creek until later this season, if at all. A few weeks ago, Crean said Creek was still recovering from his patella fracture and the program "wasn't in a rush" to get him back to full speed. The Hoosiers will hope some combination of guards Verdell Jones III, Victor Oladipo and Austin Etherington, among others, can do even more to fill the gap caused by Creek's absence.

But the news is incredibly sad all the same. One major injury is enough to derail an otherwise promising career. Three injuries in 22 months? That's just cruel.