IOWA CITY, Iowa Senior center Andrew Brommer will miss about a month with a sprained MCL in his right knee, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Saturday.
Brommer was set to start at center this year but suffered the injury on Thursday. Brommer injured the same knee last March in the Big Ten Tournament and had surgery last spring to remove a bursa sac and scar tissue.
"He was playing really well I thought," McCaffery said. "Luckily it wasn't worse because at first we thought he might have blown it out."
Freshman forward Aaron White suffered a jammed thumb also on Thursday and is out for a few days. White expects to contribute at both forward spots this year as a key reserve. The injury was comparable to one suffered by current senior Matt Gatens last year in preseason. White participated in conditioning drills on Saturday.
"It's very similar but not as bad," McCaffery said. "He didn't rip anything. Matt needed surgery. We were looking initially like it might take longer because of the swelling, but he's made a lot of progress in the last couple of days.
"It was bad, it was painful for him. You've got be careful because when you come back you bang it again and then you do it again. It's one of those things you don't want it to continue for him."
Brommer's injury causes even more problems in the post, Iowa's thinnest position. Senior Devon Archie, who averaged 8 minutes and 1.7 points a game last year, steps into the starting role. Freshman Gabe Olaseni is the immediate backup. It's likely power forward Melsahn Basabe will play some minutes at center with either White or Zach McCabe replacing Basabe.
Despite the depth issues, McCaffery said he feels no need to rush Brommer back to the court.
"He'll be fine," McCaffery said. "He'll be able to jump back in because he knows what we're doing. He had gotten his body fat way down so he's got to stay after that. His body fat was down and his weight was up. So that means he's got muscle and is fit."
Both injuries occurred during Thursday's NCAA-allotted workouts. The team's first official practice was Friday.
Saturday afternoon's practice was open to the public and featured giveaways, a dunking exhibition and a scrimmage.
"I thought the crowd was tremendous and it was fun," McCaffery said. "I want the kids to have fun with it. I think we were also able to get some things accomplished."