BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Maurice Creek's junior season is starting the same way his first two at Indiana ended -- with injuries.
Creek had surgery Monday to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg, the third serious setback he has had in three seasons. Coach Tom Crean said the injury occurred off of the basketball court and has not said how much time Creek could miss.
"This is a devastating blow for someone who has worked so hard to get himself in a position to help this program again," Crean said in a statement Monday.
Creek has averaged 11.5 points and shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range in 30 career games with the Hoosiers.
Creek came to Bloomington to chase his NBA dream and to help Indiana dig out from an NCAA scandal that occurred before Crean's arrival.
But his career has been derailed by one agonizing injury after another.
In December 2009, the high-scoring freshman broke his left kneecap on an uncontested layup. He missed the rest of the season.
When he returned last November, it was obvious Creek was not 100 percent. But just when he was rounding into form at the start of the Big Ten season, the 6-foot-5, 195-pound sophomore was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right kneecap. Again, the season was over.
Now he's got the torn Achilles, which happened before practice even officially began.
The Hoosiers are scheduled to host Hoosier Hysteria, their new-age version of Midnight Madness, on Saturday night. They'll open the season Nov. 11 at home against Stony Brook.
And if Crean has his way, Creek will be involved with the Hoosiers' program this season.
"He is going to receive the best medical care possible and we will take his recovery one day at a time," Crean said. "I think the most important thing that we can do is to make Maurice know that despite his injury, he can serve a very vital role in helping our program."
Creek wasted no time in responding to fans, either.
On Monday afternoon, he posted this on Twitter: "I just wanna thank everyone that has my back through this hard time."
The NBA wasn't the only reason Creek came to Indiana.
He was touted as the cornerstone to Crean's first recruiting class, the one that was supposed to help restore Indiana's reputation as a national basketball power.
While the Hoosiers haven't finished above .500 the last three seasons, many fans thought Crean's latest prized recruiting class, a solid nucleus of upperclassmen and the return of Creek might finally get the program back to its winning ways.
Instead, they'll have to do it without Creek, at least for now.
"All or our energy is devoted to Maurice in helping him through this latest setback," Crean said. "I know he and his family have always appreciated the thoughts and prayers they receive from Hoosier Nation."