Isaac Haas won’t let his NCAA Tournament dreams die. The Purdue star center is continuing to try and play through a fractured elbow.
Purdue is in the Sweet 16, despite the injury to the 7-foot-2 Boilermaker star. Haas went down during the first round game against Cal State Fullerton on a rebound attempt, landing hard on his elbow.
After the game, he told reporters that he was fine. However, on further examination, the fracture was revealed.
He warmed up for the Round of 32 game against Butler, but was ultimately ruled unable to play by the NCAA because of issues with his giant elbow brace. Head coach Matt Painter continues to be realistic, saying that Haas cannot play if he can’t shoot free throws or secure rebounds with the injured elbow.
However, Purdue is at least examining other options beyond what Painter is saying. According to the Journal & Courier, Purdue medical engineering students are working on a brace that could pass the NCAA’s inspections.
But when Painter was asked Monday — half-jokingly, it seemed — about whether some Purdue engineering students might try and come up with a solution, Painter said he heard “they might be trying to do that.”
The Journal & Courier confirmed that Purdue sports medicine has reached out to Purdue mechanical engineering about working on a solution. Doug Boersma, associate athletic director for sports medicine, declined comment, citing student-athlete medical privacy laws.
Even if the students can make a new brace, Painter won’t commit to playing Isaac Haas.
He made that very clear in speaking to reporters. A new brace is fine, but it won’t make Haas playable on the court.
“He has the best brace you can possibly have on that they didn’t approve,” Painter said. “So if he has the best brace possible and he can’t shoot a right-handed free throw, this brace isn’t going to be better. It’s just going to be one that’s a little bit less (bulky) and it’s going to get approved.
“You fracture your elbow, it’s really hard,” Painter said. “It makes for good conversation because he wants to play. I think that’s a good sign — that he wants to play.
“I don’t think the key is him getting some other apparatus that gets approved by the NCAA. You’ve still got to be able to shoot a right-handed free throw. You’ve got to be able to rebound with two hands. You’ve got to be able to catch the ball.”
So, Purdue fans, don’t expect to see Isaac Haas out there against No. 3 seed Texas Tech on Friday. 7-foot-3 freshman Matt Haarms slid into the starting role in the win over Butler, playing a season-high 29 minutes, and adding seven points, six rebounds, and two blocks.