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NCAA Basketball Big 10 BasketballIndiana Hoosiers

Maurice Creek Hopeful to Stay Healthy for Indiana

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

It’s been a long, tough road for Indiana guard Maurice Creek, but the 6-5 junior from Maryland is finally healthy, and hopeful to be a part of what have become great expectations for his Hoosiers squad.

Unless you’re an Indiana fan or a Big 10 expert, you haven’t seen Creek do what he does best (at least to our knowledge) since January 15, 2011. Coming off of a sensational (16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds per game), but short (only 12 games) freshman season, Creek was off to a bit of a slow start in 2010. As positive of a sign as it was that Creek played in his first 18 games after being injured the season before, that all came to a halt when he suffered a scarily similar injury to end his second straight season.

As a freshman, Creek broke his left kneecap after landing awkwardly finishing a fast break with a layup. Of course, it was after putting down layup on that miserable January night that Creek came down awkwardly again, this time breaking his right kneecap.

As bummed out as he must’ve been getting to only play in 30 games his first two seasons in Bloomington, Creek wasn’t any more fortunate in year number three. Ready to be a part of a basketball program that was quickly picking up steam, Creek fell down a flight of stairs literally weeks before the start of the 2011-12 season, tearing his left Achilles tendon, which forced him to once again, miss the entire season.

Watching his teammates make an unpredictable run; taking the Big 10 and then the NCAA Tournament by storm, Creek missed being a part of the resurgent Indiana basketball program, and the program missed him.

That is of course, until they were reunited this past Saturday night.

Seeing how the Hoosiers didn’t want to participate in the conformity of Midnight Madness, the basketball team was introduced to the fan base on Saturday in front of a sold out Assembly Hall. With the fans happy to finally get their preseason number one Hoosiers back , nobody in the building was happier than Creek.

Creek told Sports Illustrated that he felt great, and that he feels bigger, stronger, and back where he should be. And for those of you wondering, he also added: “yeah, the shot’s still good.”

As happy as Creek is, Indiana head coach Tom Crean might be even happier. Not only will he be getting one of his rebuilding cornerstones back in Creek, but the junior will join Preseason National Player of the Year Cody Zeller, senior leaders Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls, and top-50 freshmen Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell. With as good as the team was last season, you could even argue that Creek could be the final piece to what could wind up being a championship puzzle.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but Indiana will undeniably be one of the most competitive teams in the land this season, with or without Creek. It’s been a long road for the storied program, and if anyone knows about long roads its Creek. Hopefully the once dynamic guard can return to his old dynamic self, and I’m even more hopeful that he can maintain his health.

Fingers crossed.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth