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October 16, 2010

Repeat injury costs Hummel comeback season

In an unbelievably cruel twist of fate, Boilermaker star Robbie Hummel tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee again early during Purdue's first official practice of the season Saturday morning.

The senior is lost for the season now to the very same injury that sidelined him for the conclusion of last season, denying Purdue a full-strength run at the Final Four.

The injury occurred early on during Purdue's first official practice session, which was held at the university's Recreational Sports Center, because of the football game. No details on the injury have been released. During pre-start of practice workouts, Hummel had been held out of certain drills, particularly the more physical ones.

Hummel can redshirt. But this means he will not get to finish his career playing alongside classmates JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore.

Purdue was ranked as high as second in many preseason polls and considered a legitimate championship contender, largely because of the return for its All-America and Player-of-the-Year candidate.

"This is obviously disappointing for Robbie, as well as our team, since he worked so hard to return from the tear he suffered in February," Coach Matt Painter said in a released statement. "As he begins his rehab and recovery, we'll persevere together and provide Robbie with all the support possible. I have no doubt he'll continue to play a pivotal role this season as a leader of our team."

Hummel and Painter will talk publicly about the injury Wednesday.

Last week, Hummel said he wasn't worried about re-injury.

"It's really something that's out of my control," he said. "You saw what happened with football (with repeat ACL injuries to Ralph Bolden and Robert Marve). It would be another bump in the road. It's not like it would end your career.

"When you worry about it, I think that's probably when you get hurt again."

Now that he has gotten hurt again, he's in the same position he was last February, when he injured his knee in the first half at Minnesota.

"It was one of those things where life isn't always fair, I think," Hummel said last week, looking back on the first injury. "I definitely had that period of time, thinking 'Why me?' and wondering why this had to happen to us when this program does things the right way and has a great group of guys.

"We were well on our way to getting to the Final Four for the first time in 30 years. It was definitely frustrating, because it would have been great for the program. Luckily we have another chance this year."

The immediate fallout from the news had national pundits dropped the Boilermakers from the top five in the preseason into the 20s.

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