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March Madness Round Two: Last-Minute Key Injury Updates

NCAA-Tournament
Will White return for the Blue Devils in their next game? Photo Credit: Hayden Schiff
  • P.J. Washington was surprisingly out for Kentucky’s opener
  • Purdue’s Nojel Eastern rolled his ankle in warmups and didn’t start for, but got in 10 minutes of action
  • Duke played without Jack White in their Round of 64 contest

There are a number of key injuries that could impact the second round of March Madness. The biggest of the bunch is Kentucky’s P.J. Washington, who missed the team’s first game and looks like he’ll be out again when the Wildcats face a very dangerous Wofford team.

Let’s start there as we recap a few important players who are banged up right now:

P.J. Washington, Kentucky Wildcats

Injury Is he going to play in the second round? Timetable For Return
Sprained Foot Out Indefinite

The first thing to note with this injury is not to believe anything until you see it with your own eyes.

At first, they told us that P.J. Washington wasn’t really injured. He supposedly had a walking boot for precautionary reasons and the MRI was clean. He was expected to play. However, once the Wildcats first-round game started, Washington was out and during an in-game report, it was described that he’s in a lot of pain.

Washington told CBS’ sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl (before the game) that the injury is on the bottom of his foot and that on a scale of 1-10, the pain is a 10. That’s not a good sign. The good news is the team is being far more accurate with the reporting as Washington has basically been ruled out.

Kentucky plays Wofford in the Round of 32 and they’ll have to find with him.

Nojel Eastern, Purdue Boilermakers

Injury Is he going to play in the second round? Timetable For Return
Rolled Ankle Expected To Play Round Of 32

Purdue suffering a major injury that impacts their Final Four chances? You don’t say.

The school that has had to deal with Glenn Robinson’s back, Robbie Hummel’s knee and Isaac Haas’ elbow is now wondering about Nojel Eastern’s ankle. He rolled his ankle in warmups and missed most of the team’s first-round contest. The guard is fourth on the team in scoring (7.5) but is actually their leading rebounder (5.6).

The good news is that he did get 10 minutes of action in the game. From what we know, he’s a full-go for Saturday’s game against Villanova, so don’t worry about it too much…unless you’re a Purdue fan and feel the school is cursed with injuries.

Phil Cofer, Florida State

Injury Is he going to play in the second round? Timetable For Return
Death In Family Expected To Play Round Of 32

Cofer didn’t suffer a physical injury but he was surely wounded after he found out that his dad had died. He was told shortly after the team’s first-round win over Vermont.

The New York Post has reported that Cofer will stay with the team. Head coach Leonard Hamilton has stated that it’s been very difficult for the team to deal with as everyone has been very emotional. We’re not sure whether this will bring the team together or serve as a distraction, but he will be in the lineup.

Next up for Florida State is a matchup against No. 12 Murray State.

Jack White, Duke Blue Devils

Injury Is he going to play in the second round? Timetable For Return
Sprained Foot Expected To Play Thursday

Jack White missed the team’s opening game with a hamstring injury. It’s not like they needed him as they mopped the floor with North Dakota State, winning 85-62. What’s slightly concerning is that he was in sweats, so – by appearance alone – it doesn’t look like he’s close.

We don’t have an update as of now but the best guess is that he’s doubtful for Sunday’s game. The Blue Devils should be fine without him, so look for them to rest him and give him another week to get ready.

Justin Robinson, Virginia Tech

Injury Is he going to play in the first round? Timetable For Return
Foot Injury Yes Thursday

Robinson didn’t start in Va Tech’s 66-52 demolition of Saint Louis, but he looked just dandy coming off the bench. He went for 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 28 minutes of action.

Consider him back. And consider the Hokies a very dangerous #4 seed.

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For over 15 years, Dave has been working in mainstream media and sports betting. He hosted a station on Sirius Satellite Radio for four years, and is currently a senior writer for AskMen. He's interviewed hundreds of hundreds of high-profile sports stars like Shaquille O'Neal and Floyd Mayweather.