Adversity strikes again for Jack Nunge
Redshirt sophomore forward suffered right leg injury Thursday against Michigan
By Tyler Devine
Jack Nunge has suffered more than his share of adversity as an Iowa basketball player, and adversity struck again on Thursday.
Nunge’s latest setback occurred during ninth-ranked Iowa’s 79-57 loss at No. 3 Michigan when the redshirt sophomore forward suffered a right leg injury early in the first half.
Nunge played just one minute before collapsing on the baseline in obvious pain. He returned to the Iowa bench for the second half on crutches.
“We’re going to do an MRI on Jack tomorrow, so we’ll know more then,” head coach Fran McCaffery said.
The 6-foot-11 Nunge redshirted his true sophomore year and started Iowa’s first five games of the 2019-20 season before taking a medical redshirt after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Cal Poly on Nov. 24, 2019 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Nunge’s father, Mark Nunge, died unexpectedly Nov. 21, and just four days before Iowa’s 2020-21 season opener.
Jack Nunge, a native of Newburgh, Ind., missed Iowa’s first two games this season, but has since become a key contributor off the bench, averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
“He’s an incredibly valuable member of our team in so many ways,” McCaffery said. “He gives us versatility. Especially when you’re playing a team that’s really big like Michigan, you need that other big guy in there. He’s a high-level rebounder. He’s a shot blocker. But he’s also a scorer and gives you another offensive weapon.”
At certain points this season, Nunge has provided crucial production off the bench in place of Iowa’s leading scorer and National Player of the Year candidate, Luka Garza.
“He’s a huge part of our team,” Garza said. “Terrific player, terrific teammate. I don’t really know what happened. I saw him during the game but I was really locked into the game. I don’t know what’s happening there, I’ll be able to find out at some point. But right now I think he’s a huge part of our team. It sucks not having him out there and I hope it gets better soon.”
Iowa also has true freshman big man Josh Ogundele, but the London native has played less than 13 total minutes in five appearances this season.`
Senior guard Jordan Bohannon, who also redshirted last season after multiple hip surgeries, expressed his concern for Jack Nunge after Thursday’s loss.
“I don’t what to say at this point with Jack,” Bohannon said. “Knowing the road he’s going through – beginning the season with his father. I’m praying it’s not the same ACL as the last recovery he had to go through because that kid’s been through hell, one of my best friends. I can’t even think about what he’s going through mentally. I just have to be there for him and keep him positive through this tough time he’s going through. We all need him out there. He’s a big part of this team.”