January 28, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr. will be out indefinitely with a lower leg injury, leaving the Hoosiers without their leading scorer.

The school made the announcement on the basketball program's Twitter feed on Saturday. The Hoosiers visit surging Northwestern on Sunday.

''As much as this affects our basketball team - as with all of the other injuries this year - it hurts us much more for James,'' coach Tom Crean said in a statement. ''He has been playing at a very high level and this is unfortunate.''

Blackmon was having his best season with Indiana (14-7, 4-4), averaging 17.6 points while shooting 43.6 percent on 3-pointers and 79.6 percent from the free-throw line. The junior played a key role in a three-game winning streak that allowed the defending Big Ten champions to even their record in conference play.

But Blackmon pulled up lame in the first half of Thursday's 30-point loss at Michigan, limping back to the bench even before the officials stopped play. He returned to the court, but was seen after the game with an ice pack on his right knee, the same knee he had season-ending surgery on last January.

The previous injury sidelined him for Indiana's entire conference season in 2015-16.

Blackmon also had surgery on his left knee during the summer of 2015 but still declared for the NBA draft last spring. He eventually decided to return to school.

Indiana has been hampered by several injuries this season.

Starting forward Collin Hartman hurt his left knee during a non-contact drill in September and later had surgery. The senior has been rehabbing but is likely to miss the entire season.

Forward OG Anunoby, Indiana's top defensive player, was injured late in the first half of a victory at Penn State on Jan. 18. Two days later, he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a right knee injury that will require surgery.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 .

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