CHICAGO — The preseason injury wheel continues to spin the Iowa men’s basketball program in the wrong direction.
For the third straight season, at least one Iowa player has suffered a serious injury that will take him out of games. Senior post Andrew Brommer will miss at least three more weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee. Sophomore guard Devyn Marble suffered a concussion within the first few days of practice and has yet to be cleared to return by doctors.
“I think realistically we’re looking right now that (Marble’s) probably going to be back at least by the first game,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “The question is, what kind of shape is he going to be in?
“He’s clearly coherent. You can talk to him. He’s anxious to get back going. Truth of the matter is, in the old days, he’d probably been playing five days ago. That might not have been necessarily a good thing.”
Marble is not allowed to ride the bicycle or condition, let alone practice. He’s evaluated every day and takes the post-concussion test every couple of days by an independent doctor. Marble first felt symptoms and was given the concussion test during the team’s public practice on Oct. 15.
Marble averaged 5.7 points a game last year and started six games. He attends every practice, McCaffery said.
“Marble is there watching what we’re putting in,” McCaffery said. “A lot of it is what we put in last year. He’s pretty good with that stuff. He’s not one of those guys that you really worry about. He’ll forget some stuff, but that’s usually at the defensive end.”
Marble and junior Eric May were slotted to compete at the small forward position before Marble’s injury. Marble also backs up point guard Bryce Cartwright. With Marble out, walk-on Branden Stubbs is Cartwright’s backup.
Brommer was expected to start at center, but the knee injury provided another setback. Brommer had the same knee surgically repaired last spring to clear scar tissue and remove a bursa sac. The injury occurred during a team workout on Oct. 13 when sophomore Zach McCabe fell into his knee.
“At the time when he hurt it, I thought we might be losing him for the season,” McCaffery said. “That would have been unfortunate. The good news is he’ll be back. He’s proceeding well. He’s probably a little bit ahead of schedule.”
Freshman Aaron White returned to practice within a week of a sprained thumb during the first few practices. He wears a thumb guard to protect it.
The preseason injuries have become a trend for Iowa basketball. Two years ago Devon Archie suffered a dislocated clavicle and was lost for the year. Last year it was Matt Gatens had a torn thumb tendon that required surgery. He missed Iowa’s first two games.
Iowa hosts Northwest Missouri State in an exhibition on Nov. 6. The Hawkeyes’ first game is Nov. 11 against Chicago State.
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