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Purdue rallies without Hummel

Junior hurts knee in first half, doesn't return

Robbie Hummel couldn't even celebrate with teammates.

Hummel saw Keaton Grant's jumper from the top of the key with 7.7 seconds remaining lift No. 3 Purdue to a 59-58 victory at Minnesota.

But Hummel was planted at the end of Purdue's bench, unable to jump to his feet like so many of his teammates.

When Minnesota missed a shot in the final second that could have won the game, Purdue's bench raced onto the court. Hummel couldn't. He had to wait to grab crutches and presumably struggle to get onto the raised court at the Barn -- then Chris Kramer came over and gave him a hug.

Hummel appeared to injure his right knee midway through the first half and spent the second half on the bench in warm-ups with pants covering his knee. No way to tell if there was a brace on the knee.

With just over seven minutes to play in the first half, Hummel got the ball on the left wing and drove hard to the middle of the lane. When he tried to jump stop, his right ankle rolled and his knee buckled. He immediately clutched at the knee.

Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Myron Medcalf reported on his Twitter account -- the Journal Gazette didn't attend the game -- that Hummel was saying, "My knee, my knee!"

Hummel had to be helped off the court, appeared to put little weight on his right leg and was taken to the locker room.

After the game, coach Matt Painter did an interview with the Big Ten Network.

"It was frustrating. We see Rob come into the locker room at halftime on crutches," Painter said on BTN. "He's battled back from last year and has been healthy the whole year and now he has a little bit of a setback here. We'll see what the doctors say after he gets looked at.

"But our guys stepped up. It was a great win for our program, especially with Rob being out."

If Hummel is out for an extended period, the Boilermakers are in trouble. They did a great job to battle back and get another road victory facing the kind of adversity they did Wednesday night. But beating Minnesota isn't nearly the same as beating Michigan State Sunday or other elite programs Purdue will face in the NCAA tournament.

Hummel not only is a great offensive player who can create shots and extend defenses with his ability to make three-pointers, but he's a key facilitator in Purdue's motion offense. He's also a steady defender, especially in help, and he's arguably the team's best rebounder.

And that says nothing about the intangibles he brings -- the toughness, the intelligence, the leadership.

If senior Grant continues to play well -- he's had three consecutive impressive games -- that will help. But nothing will counter Hummel's absence.

Purdue -- nor any team in the country -- has the bench to make up for that caliber of a loss. Last season when Hummel was out with a back injury, the Boilermakers were 2-3. At least then, they had another experienced big man in Nemanja Calasan. Now, the second post option is freshman Patrick Bade, who is a liability.

Without Hummel in the second half, 6-foot-3 guard Chris Kramer wound up defending in the post at points. Kramer did draw a charge on one play. But if Hummel is seriously injured, Purdue's dreams for this season drastically change.

  • Painter will have a teleconference Thursday, so be sure to check back for any Hummel updates.
  • Lost in the mix was Kramer, who tied the all-time steals record with two. He had both in a four-minute stretch in the second half. The record-tying steal came when he tipped the ball, gathered it and went coast-to-coast for a layup to pull Purdue within 44-39 with about 8:25 to play. The next two games are at home, so Kramer has a great chance to set the record at home.

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