BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The No. 6-ranked Indiana women's basketball program has been quiet for the past week due to positive COVID-19 cases within the program and a knee injury from the team's leading scorer junior forward Mackenzie Holmes.
Sophomore forward Kiandra Browne got the last two starts in place of Holmes who sat on the bench nursing her knee.
The program released a short statement on Thursday, Jan. 20: "Junior forward Mackenzie Holmes underwent a successful procedure on her knee on Thursday. She will immediately begin rehab."
There hasn't been any media availability since the Hoosiers' 73-68 win over rival Purdue on Jan. 16. This is in part because the team is out with COVID-19 and has had to postpone its Michigan State and Iowa games.
To protect the privacy of the team, the number of infected teammates or status of each player hasn't been given.
A break to recover and rest might not be the worst thing for the Hoosiers as Holmes needs time to heal too. The team didn't release how the injury occurred or how long Holmes's recovery will take.
Holmes took to Twitter to thank her fans for the support:
"Hoosier Nation, I want to thank you for the outpour of thoughts and prayers. Your support means everything to me! I'm going to be back and better in no time thanks to a great medical team we have here at IU. In the meantime, I'll be the loudest one on the bench, continuing to support my team in pursuit of the goals we have set for this season."
Whether it's only a couple of weeks or the rest of the season, Holmes is an important piece for the Hoosiers leading the team with an average 17.9 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.
The strong post player from Gorham, Maine will need a replacement. The most likely player to step up is Browne.
Browne already has some practice in this role as she earned her first start of the season in the Nebraska game replacing Holmes when her knee started to bother her.
The Hoosiers came out victorious defeating the Cornhuskers 72-65 at home. Browne tallied two points and five rebounds, a start Indiana head coach Teri Moren said was a little shaky.
Kiandra Browne and Mackenzie Holmes
Indiana took on Purdue a few days later winning 73-68 in an incredible overtime. Browne improved to eight points and four rebounds. Moren said she felt Browne was starting to get more comfortable in her role and is excellent at setting screens so her guards are able to make plays.
The Montreal, Quebec, Canada native is averaging 3.6 points per game and 3.5 rebounds. Moren has utilized Browne this whole season playing her along with sophomore guard Chloe Moore-McNeil to build depth off the bench.
In a past press conference, Holmes said she works with Browne in practices and sees what she's capable of. Moren added the meaningful minutes from the bench will make the team better.
Still, the Hoosiers are down in numbers this season originally starting with 13 players on the roster and dwindling down to 11. Graduate student guard Caitlin Hose and freshman guard Keyarah Berry both quit the team but remain at Indiana University.
With Holmes's status questionable, that leaves only 10 players.
If all goes well and the Hoosiers are cleared from COVID-19, their next game will be Thursday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. ET in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
So far, none of the postponed games have been rescheduled.
Related stories on Indiana women's basketball
- HOOSIERS VS. HAWKEYES POSTPONED: For the fourth time this season, Indiana's women's basketball team has had a game affected by issues with COVID-19. This time it's Sunday's game in Iowa City against Iowa that has been postponed. Both schools will work with Big Ten officials to reschedule the matchup. CLICK HERE.
- INDIANA VS. MICHIGAN STATE GAME POSTPONED: This is the third game affected by COVID-19 for the Indiana program. Both Michigan State and Indiana will work with the Big Ten Conference to reschedule the game. CLICK HERE.
- HOOSIERS STAY AT NO. 6 IN AP POLL: For the third week in a row, the Hoosiers stay consistent at No. 6 after a fresh win over the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday improving their conference record to its best start in history at 5-0. CLICK HERE.