When Purdue senior Isaac Haas went down with what was later diagnosed as a fractured right elbow, the news was he was out for the NCAA Tournament.

The fall itself didn’t look too bad, but obviously the result was just about the worst outcome possible for Purdue:

Except, maybe not?

Yesterday, there were reports that Haas was going to try to play today against Butler despite the fracture.

That would have been a big deal for Purdue, even if he’s just at sixty or seventy percent, because his presence is so key to what they do on both ends of the court:

Purdue’s entire offensive system revolved around Haas, and their defense was designed to funnel opposing drivers to him as well. This is just brutal news. Haas now moves on to a professional career, assuming no lingering effects from this injury, while Purdue will play the winner of Butler and Arkansas on Sunday, and Matt Painter has his work cut out for him.

While it’s hard to imagine Haas playing just a few days after being ruled out for the season, he certainly gave it his best:

That’s a hell of an effort from Haas, though if he was unable to shoot free throws it would be a real liability for him to be out there. (And it’s hard to imagine worse optics than another team playing hack-a-Haas with a player battling through an elbow fracture.)

In the end, though, the decision was made for him, and for Purdue:

However, if that truly is the only factor, it’s not impossible that Purdue finds a way to come up with a brace that would be approved by the NCAA in time for the Sweet 16, if they manage to get past Butler today. They are an engineering school, after all.

(pic via Allie LaForce, Twitter)

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.