Iowa State is plagued with injuries, absences before meeting with TCU

Iowa State senior Donovan Jackson floats the ball up and in during the first half against Oklahoma on Feb. 10.

Brian Mozey

Editor’s Note: The story has been updated after hearing about Nick Weiler-Babb’s season-ending injury. 

The injury bug has reached Ames, Iowa, and it’s hitting almost half of the Cyclone men’s basketball players.

Iowa State has played 26 games and the players have shown the effects from playing so many games.

For Wednesday’s home game against TCU, coach Steve Prohm could have anywhere from six to eight healthy players. And healthy is a loose term.

“It’s a gray area between reality [of] seven to 10,” Prohm said. “That’s just part [of the game].”

Lindell Wigginton, Cameron Lard, Jakolby Long, Terrence Lewis, Jeff Beverly and Zoran Talley Jr. are all good to go for the game against the Horned Frogs. Donovan Jackson and Hans Brase are up in the air regarding their availability. Nick Weiler-Babb and Solomon Young will be out for an extended period of time. 

Jackson was back in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Monday to be around his family after the death of his father on Saturday night. Prohm said he received a phone call from Lard on Saturday evening after the loss at Kansas State.

Prohm talked to Jackson on Sunday when he went home and has been in constant contact with him throughout the last couple of days. He thinks Jackson will be back for Wednesday’s game, but in the end, he needs to do what’s best for his family and the situation.

“Just try to be there for one of our brothers,” said transfer Marial Shayok. “Losing his father is nothing I can imagine and I’m sure it’s a tough, tough, tough situation for him and his family, so just support him and tell him I love him.”

Weiler-Babb has been dealing with tendinitis in his knee since the beginning of this season, but the 791 minutes he’s played this season has come to a close after an ISU representative said Weiler-Babb is expected to be shut down down for the rest of the season. 

The redshirt junior guard went to Dallas on Monday to get another opinion on his knee and will have further testing in the upcoming days. 

Young will be out for three to four weeks after having surgery on his left knee Tuesday. He is repairing two tears in his meniscus and his return to the court this season is uncertain.

Finally, Brase could return from his knee injury for the TCU game. Prohm expects him to be in uniform and playing some minutes against the Horned Frogs. Prohm will need all hands on deck against a powerful TCU team that has its eyes on the a possible NCAA Tournament bid.

“[I haven’t had] this number of guys not being able to really have sustained practices,” Prohm said. “It happens sometimes.”

The Horned Frogs are a proficient offensive team with the highest field goal percentage and 3-point percentage in the Big 12. They also average 84.4 points per game, which is second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma.

Prohm remembers that high powered offense when Iowa State lost to then-No. 24 TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 17 with a 96-73 final score.

The 96 total points by the Horned Frogs is tied for the highest score the Cyclones have allowed on the road this season. The other 96-point performance was from Oklahoma State on Jan. 6, but it ended in overtime rather than regulation.

“They’re very good offensively,” Prohm said. “They can space you out… they as a team are shooting 42 percent from three, that’s pretty good.”

One name that could be called quite often from the bench is freshman guard Terrence Lewis. He’s averaged 8.5 minutes per game and has only averaged 2.5 points per game, but he could be getting some extra time because of the small number of players.

Coming into Iowa State, Lewis was known for his shooting ability. He hasn’t had a lot of rhythm during games since he’s only in there for 8.5 minutes but hopes this game could be a chance to shine and showcase his abilities.

“I’ve been waiting for the opportunity since I got here, so it’s a blessing right now for me,” Lewis said. “When your number is called, you got to be ready.”

It’ll be an opportunity for redemption after the 23-point loss to the Horned Frogs earlier this season. Even with the injuries, Prohm is focused on finishing this regular season strong, but the first priority is focusing on Jackson and his situation.

“Right now, more than anything, [is making sure Jackson is our priority],” Prohm said. “Basketball stuff will take care of itself.”