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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Indiana regrouping after loss, injury

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Bill Lynch spent Tuesday afternoon discussing Indiana's first loss, its long injury list and corrections needed for this week's Big Ten opener.

But the Hoosiers may have to clear a bigger hurdle before facing Michigan State.

Lynch said the school's sports psychologist was expected to meet Wednesday with players to help them cope with lingering effects from Dante Love's injury. The Ball State receiver broke his spine and injured his spinal cord in Saturday's game after colliding with Hoosiers cornerback Chris Adkins.

Ball State officials announced Monday that Love's football career is likely over, and the ramifications are still being talked about in Bloomington.

"I think he (Adkins) is fine, but he's a young guy, too," Lynch said during his weekly news conference. "I think it would affect any of us. But he's a mature guy and he's done a good job dealing with it."

Adkins was not expected to be available to reporters until at least later this week.

Lynch said he believed some players, perhaps even Adkins, a redshirt freshman, would talk to the psychologist during the team's regularly-scheduled availability Wednesday. Lynch said those decisions are up to the players.

Clearly, Lynch believes Love's injury is still weighing on the minds of coaches and players although he downplayed the impact it may have had in Saturday's 42-20 loss to Ball State. Lynch said his team simply didn't play well enough.

On Sunday afternoon, though, Lynch and his wife visited Love at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, where Love spent five hours in surgery early Sunday morning. Doctors have said Love will lead a normal, healthy life after completing a rehabilitation program.

"When I was there, he was certainly tired," Lynch said. "But he was very aware and his spirits are great and he's certainly handling it well."

Lynch also called Ball State coach Brady Hoke again Tuesday, a day after Hoke thanked Indiana officials for their assistance Saturday night and the Indiana State Police, who helped transport Hoke from Bloomington to Indianapolis.

Yet the usually vibrant Lynch answered questions with a more serious tone, especially when he was asked whether he would have done anything different after Love was hurt.

"That's a tough one to answer, and I don't think any of us know the correct answer to that," Lynch said. "I think we handled it as well as we could have."

But as the Hoosiers (2-1) move forward, they'll be dealing with their own concerns, starting with injuries.

Cornerback Chris Phillips, a team captain, is expected to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and Indiana's two starting safeties may be out this week, too. Nick Polk, who returned Love's fumble for a touchdown, has already been ruled out of this week's game with a knee injury, and Lynch isn't sure whether Austin Thomas, who missed last week's game with a shoulder injury, will be ready to go, either.

The Hoosiers remain hopeful that left tackle Rodger Saffold, who left the Ball State game with a knee injury, will play.

Indiana does not provide details of injuries, citing federal privacy laws.

Plus, the Hoosiers are reeling from their first loss to a Mid-American Conference school in 31 years.

"We've got to get better," Lynch said. "You've got to analyze where you are and where you've got to get better, and we've got to get better."

The Hoosiers also must get better at stopping the run after allowing Ball State to run for 224 yards on 42 carries, an average of 5.3 yards. A year ago, the Spartans rushed for 368 yards against Indiana and their top back, Javon Ringer, ranks second in the nation with 174.8 yards per game.

"They will pound you and they do it as well as anybody in the country that I've seen, and they've got the horses to do it," Lynch said.

And, as difficult as it may seem now, Indiana must put last week's frightening injury behind it, too.

"That's a tough situation for all of us," Lynch said. "You hate to see that happen to a young guy, or any guy. He's a great kid, and I know how much my son thought of him because he played with him. So there's a little bit of an attachment there."



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