CLOSE

Minus CJ Fredrick, there's no shortage of defenders hounding Joe Wieskamp these days. He fought through for 13 points against Ohio State on Thursday. Hawk Central

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery said Monday that he won’t play shooting guard CJ Fredrick until his injured right ankle is 100% healthy, even if that means missing Tuesday’s big showdown at Michigan State.

To that end, McCaffery did say the redshirt freshman — who is Iowa’s third-leading scorer at 10.7 points per game and hitting 46.7% of his 3-point attempts — is “a lot further along” than he was since missing Iowa’s 85-76 Thursday win against Ohio State.

“You’ve got to balance his eagerness with sensibility,” McCaffery said during a morning teleconference. “… We would love to have him play Tuesday and Saturday (against Penn State) and every game after that. But we’re not going to run him out there until he’s 100%.”

With Iowa (19-8 overall, 10-6 Big Ten) tied for second in the conference, the Hawkeyes would love to have Fredrick on the floor at the Breslin Center. But McCaffery is staying consistent with his stance that Iowa, which has a solid NCAA Tournament resume, will play the long game with Fredrick. Iowa wants to make sure Fredrick is healthy for even bigger games in March, if it means skipping one or two more in late February. He has missed five games and parts of two others this season with injuries to his quadriceps, foot and now ankle.

McCaffery said Fredrick would see what he could do in practice Monday, then a decision will be made Tuesday about Fredrick’s availability. Iowa went with a seven-man rotation against the Buckeyes.

“I just tell him, ‘Look, I know you’re anxious to get out there,’” McCaffery said. “’But we’re not going to run you out there until you’re ready. Don’t feel like there’s any pressure on you.’”