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With Gesell out, Clemmons stepping up

[ 0 ] March 1, 2013 |

Iowa freshman point guard Mike Gesell has the kind of foot injury where it appears rest is the best path to recovery.

The timing of Gesell’s injury, which has been described as a stress reaction in his right foot, couldn’t be worse with Iowa preparing to face top-ranked Indiana on the road today and with the Hawkeyes (18-10, 7-8 Big Ten) facing an uphill battle to make the NCAA Tournament.

“Rest is about the best thing he can do,” foot and ankle specialist Dr. George Sehl of Iowa City said Friday about treating a stress reaction injury. “A little physical therapy might help a little bit. But rest is the main thing.”

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Friday there is a slight chance that Gesell could miss the rest of the season because of the injury. Gesell is scheduled to have an MRI and the hope is that he will return for the Big Ten Tournament, which will be March 14-17 at the United Center in Chicago.

But for now, McCaffery will rely on his other freshman point guard, Anthony Clemmons, to help fill the void. Clemmons isn’t expected to start against Indiana, but the Lansing, Mich., native should figure prominently in McCaffery’s game plan as the backup to junior Devyn Marble at point guard. Sophomore Josh Oglesby is expected to make his second consecutive start at shooting guard.

“It is so important because it gives us flexibility,” McCaffery said Friday of having Clemmons on the roster.

Clemmons isn’t your typical backup freshman point guard with 13 starts already under his belt. He began the season as a reserve before starting 13 consecutive games throughout December and most of January. Clemmons leads Iowa with 91 assists and is ranked fifth in the Big Ten with a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio.

“You have to be able to get into your offense and bring the ball up the court against pressure,” McCaffery said. “To this point, Anthony has gotten a lot of experience and I am very comfortable bringing him off the bench to run our offense and to move Devyn around.

“It gives me some flexibility. There is going to be a lot of pressure on (Anthony) in the next couple of games.”

Gesell had started the first 27 games before sitting out Wednesday’s 58-48 victory over Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

McCaffery has declined to discuss the specifics of Gesell’s injury. However, the Big Ten Network reported Wednesday that Gesell has a stress-reaction injury in his right foot.

Gesell’s absence means Iowa will be without its leaders in steals, the player with the second most assists on the team and its third leading scorer.

“You treat it and treat it and then you back again to see if it has improved,” McCaffery said. “Obviously, he is in a boot and he’s getting treatment two or three times a day and it will get better.

“But on the off chance it doesn’t get better, we have to take another look to make sure it has improved the way we want it to.”

As for today’s game against the Hoosiers, it’ll mark the seventh time that Iowa has faced a top-ranked Indiana team. Iowa is winless in the previous six games and is 2-19 overall against top-ranked opponents.

Iowa defeated top-ranked Connecticut 70-69 in the 1999-2000 season opener at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The other victory came against UCLA at Chicago Stadium in 1965.

Indiana defeated the Hawkeyes 69-65 in the Big Ten opener this season on New Year’s Eve in Iowa City. The Hoosiers were ranked fifth nationally at the time.

Clemmons played 24 minutes in the first game against Indiana and finished with six points, six assists and two steals.

Indiana senior guard Victor Oladipo and sophomore center Cody Zeller both finished with double-doubles in scoring and rebounding in the first game against Iowa. The 6-4 Oladipo scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first game and has been playing well ever since. He is considered one of the top candidates for Big Ten Player of the Year this season.

“I thought he was terrific last year, but at the start of this year I noticed a difference,” McCaffery said of Oladipo. “I thought he had taken his game to the next level and he was committed to doing that. I think you could see it coming.”

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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