Coverdale still hobbled by bad ankle

Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2002

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- While starting point guard Tom Coverdale hobbled around campus on crutches Monday, Indiana practiced with Coverdale's likely replacement, freshman Donald Perry.

Coverdale, the Hoosiers' second-leading scorer and the player most responsible for getting his teammates into the right spots, sprained his left ankle Saturday during Indiana's 81-69 regional final victory over Kent State.

Two days after being wheeled off the court, Coverdale wore a boot over the injured ankle but still could not put any weight on the leg.

''It's 10 times better than it was yesterday, hopefully it will keep improving,'' Coverdale said.

Coach Mike Davis said he expected Coverdale to play Saturday against Oklahoma in the first of the two national semifinals.

''He couldn't even walk before we played North Carolina-Wilmington and he played,'' Davis said about the original injury Coverdale suffered in the Hoosiers' first-round game against Utah. ''I think he'll definitely play because I know Tom.''

Coverdale sprained his left ankle against Utah, but trainer Tim Garl said the second injury was in a different spot.

Davis said the Hoosiers would not know until Thursday whether Coverdale could play.

Even if does, Coverdale wouldn't be 100 percent.

So at their first practice since advancing to the Final Four, Perry, from Tallulah, La., was playing with the Hoosiers' starters.

Perry has started five games this year and has steadily improved.

Davis and his players expressed confidence in Perry's abilities even though he appeared rattled at first Saturday when Coverdale was injured with about 9:30 remaining.

''Donald Perry is ready to go,'' Davis said. ''It's been a team game since Day 1. We depend on him (Coverdale), but we'll do it by committee if they press us and spread us out.''

Perry acknowledged Monday that he was nervous when he first replaced Coverdale, but said that he would be prepared to do whatever is asked this weekend.

''Saturday was different because I looked up and I was getting ready to celebrate,'' Perry said. ''When he went down, it caught me off-guard. It's like my dad always said, you have to be ready for anything.''



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