Purdue ruled center Isaac Haas out for the remainder of the season with a fractured elbow after its first-round NCAA Tournament win, and that announcement will likely still hold true when the team takes on Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 on Friday night.
But those around the program have yet to give up complete hope.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Purdue sports medicine reached out to the university’s engineering program to design a NCAA-approved brace for Haas to wear if he returns.
Also, Painter said there's an actual effort by some engineering students to build the perfect brace for Haas' elbow. The most Purdue thing ever. https://t.co/P2EymftYdh
— Dakota Crawford (@DakotaCrawford_) March 19, 2018
Haas did practice one day after the injury, which came against Cal State Fullerton on March 16. Wearing a brace, he shot layups and hook shots but did not play against Butler on Sunday.
And even if could have have suited up for the Boilermakers’ second-round victory, he would not have been able to wear the brace because it did not meet the NCAA player safety standards.
Isaac Haas tried wearing a brace to protect his elbow. In accordance with the NCAA MBB rules book, the officials inspected it and determined it didn't meet player safety standards as outlined in Rule 1, Section 26 (page 30) of the rules book. https://t.co/yTY0JHYb04
— David Worlock (@DavidWorlock) March 18, 2018
Purdue has now turned to its engineering program for a solution, though the NCAA-approved brace alone does not mean Haas will see the court.
The bigger problems, coach Matt Painter said, are the injury’s on-court implications. The longtime coach said Haas needs to prove he can shoot right-handed free throws and rebound with two hands.
He has yet to accomplish either routine task.
“He has the best brace you can possibly have on that they didn’t approve,” Painter said during a press conference Monday. “So if he has the best brace possible and he can’t shoot a right-handed free throw, this brace isn’t going to be better. It’s just going to be one that’s a little bit less [bulky] and it’s going to get approved. He still has a broken elbow.”