UPDATE: Isaac Haas won’t play in the Sweet Sixteen game, according to a report.
BOSTON — As Purdue prepares for Friday’s Sweet Sixteen appearance against Texas Tech, steps are being taken to potentially allow senior center Isaac Haas to play with a brace on his fractured right elbow. According to the NCAA, they have amended a rule interpretation which permits padding that would cover guards, braces or casts.
NCAA.com’s Andy Katz reports that interpretation may clear the way for Haas to wear a brace protecting his elbow and play in Friday night’s game in Boston. However Haas does not yet have the clearance to take the court against the Red Raiders. Katz says that the decision on whether or not Haas does play now remains in the hands of Purdue head coach Matt Painter, medical staff, game officials, and Haas himself.
NCAA and Purdue officials worked together to get the approval. NCAA Senior Vice President of basketball Dan Gavitt told Katz, “With ample time this week to review the intent of the playing rule, the committee decided to provide a more contemporary interpretation, while keeping health and safety for all players the highest priority.”
Gavitt added, “Technology has improved materials used in braces, so now there will be more flexibility in applying the rule as long as the brace is fully covered and padded. Isaac and other players in similar circumstances should be able to play, as long as the brace is safe for all.”
Painter reportedly told NCAA.com on Thursday that Haas’ playing status would not change unless he was able to show the Boilermakers head coach in Friday’s shootaround that he would be able to play effectively with the protective device.
Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski told Katz in the NCAA.com report that the brace was developed by engineering graduate students in West Lafayette.
We're not promising a miracle–but the tremendous effort shown by @PurdueME is certainly worthy of #PurduePride! They demonstrated what it means to be a #PurdueEngineer, rising to meet the challenge: https://t.co/5nw0r492Bj @BoilerBall @theoriginalhaas @LifeAtPurdue #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/RyRhIehiBb
— Purdue Engineering (@PurdueEngineers) March 23, 2018
“I believe they used carbon fiber, rubber and some leather,” Bobinski told Katz. “There was some old-school material and some very cutting-edge material. The carbon fiber is high tech, light and pliable. We believe it gives Isaac and other players on the court lots of protection.”
“Whether he plays or not is another story. But at least we have the window open and we really appreciate it. They had his best interest in mind,’’ Bobinski said, thanking the NCAA for the expedited approval to open the door for the possibility of Haas playing.
According to Katz, Bobinski added that the degree of the fracture and its impact on Haas’ range of motion, as well as the degree of pain it causes him, would be another concern.
Haas sustained the injury last week in the Boilermakers’ opening game of the NCAA Tournament against Cal State Fullerton. The senior was averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds prior to the injury. He missed Sunday’s game against Butler, which Purdue won 76-73 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Boston.