Haarms likely to play if Haas can’t for Purdue
Detroit — On Friday, Purdue announced senior center Isaac Haas will miss the rest of the NCAA Tournament because of a fractured right elbow suffered in the Boilermakers’ first-round game.
A day later, Haas did some running in practice and “did a few things,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Saturday at Little Caesars Arena where the No. 2 seed Boilermakers will face No. 10 Butler on Sunday at 12:10 p.m.
But will Haas, who averaged 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds for Purdue this season, play in the second-round game against Butler?
“I don’t see him playing,” Painter said at his news conference. “He’s fractured his elbow. So, he can go out there and get in warmups and do things, but I don’t think he’s going to play. I’m obviously not a doctor. But I’ve been able to look at it and see — he just went through things today and just getting loose and everything. His legs aren’t broke. So you’re allowed to still run when your elbow is fractured.”
Purdue defeated Butler in December, 82-67,
If Isaac, who injured the elbow when he fell on the court after fighting for a rebound, can’t play, Purdue likely will go with 7-foot-3 redshirt freshman Matt Haarms.
“Matt’s played the whole year,” Painter said. “He’s done a good job for us. He played 27 minutes in the game versus Butler when we played earlier in the season. He’s long, he’s athletic, he can run, he can block shots. He knows what’s going on. The game matters to him.
“So it’s a great opportunity for him to be able to step up and stay in his role, be really good at being Matt Haarms. You don’t have to be something else. And I think that’s going to be important for us that he brings that energy and helps us get going on both ends of the court.”
The Boilermakers said while they will miss Haas if he’s ruled unable to play, they will move on.
“We’re not going to hang our heads down,” Vincent Edwards said. “Our focus is on Butler. We’ve dealt with injuries before. These guys have picked this team up when I was out. So we plan on doing the same thing.”
Haas is a big body at 7-2, 290 pounds, and Haarms is leaner at 250. The Butler players said they won’t notice much of a difference if Haas doesn’t play.
“I don’t know if he’s going to play or not,” Butler’s Kamar Baldwin said. “But we know they’re a really good team with him or without them. So, we’re going to prepare either way and be ready to go tomorrow.”