NCAA Tournament 2018: New brace, but same problem for Purdue's Isaac Haas
Purdue engineers tried to create a better brace for Haas' broken elbow, but he still is not ready to play
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Purdue center Isaac Haas, who broke his right (shooting) elbow in the Boilermakers' first-round game of the NCAA Tournament against Cal State Fullerton, has a new brace for that elbow, but is still unlikely to play in Purdue's Sweet 16 matchup with Texas Tech on Friday night.
Haas tried to suit up with a brace on his elbow for the game against Butler on Sunday, but game officials decided that the brace was too hard and unsafe for the other players on the floor.
When Haas returned to Purdue on Monday, the most Purdue thing ever happened. He met with some of the engineers at the school's Human Injury Research and Regenerative Technologies Lab to see about creating a brace that would help him play and get the approval of game officials.
In the 34 hours that followed, the team created a softer version of the brace he was wearing, which includes some padding material developed by the lab that is not yet commercially available.
That brace is much more likely to meet the standards of game officials, but Haas is still unable to meet the standards of his coach, Matt Painter.
Painter said on Thursday that Haas had not practiced Tuesday or Wednesday and could not play if he could not practice. He participated in some of the practice that was open to the media on Thursday, but was working mostly with his left hand. He was unable to do more than a few layups with his right hand and that was still painful.
Painter said earlier in the week that in order for Haas to play, he had to be able to rebound with two hands and shoot free throws, at a minimum. That has not happened yet.
Freshman Matt Haarms, Haas' 7-foot-3 backup, known for his high energy level and spectacular hair, started and played well in 29 minutes against Butler, which is almost double his season average. Forwards Grady Eifert and Jaquil Taylor had expanded roles as well in Haas' absence.
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