"Time for Tate to step-up and earn his scholarship or he needs to re-imburse the school for his senior year especially if he is just worried about his 'pro career.'"

The above quote is from a Pat Harty article about the injury situation plaguing the Hawkeyes this season. No, Harty's not dumb enough to write that himself; it comes from a commenter who totally knows how scholarships work.

We understand the frustration from seeing a star player go through a slow healing process, though the avenue through which that frustration was expressed was a peculiarly stupid choice. The notion that a player like Cyrus Tate, a team captain and his coach's favorite (by far) post player, would intentionally go into Operation Shutdown while his team crumbled around him is ludicrous. Players simply don't get to that level of competition--All-Big Ten, basically--without an intense competitive spirit that's foreign to even Internet Tough Guys! like the aforementioned commenter. If Tate wanted to quit on the team, he would have done it while he was sitting on the bench at the beginning of last season. Instead, he turned into Iowa's most consistent scorer as soon as he got an opportunity.

And look. We're not going to pretend that we've never been 7 beers deep on a Saturday and grumbled "play through it, you pussy" at a TV before (though in retrospect, that was not an appropriate reaction to the Ray Chapman incident). But when you read something like this:

"I plan on to hopefully continue playing basketball after (college)," Tate said. "This is a bad situation to be in because I want to be able to contribute to our team and help out and be a presence for our team. But right now, it's just something that I can't rush."

Tate said his ankle still hurts when he does certain things.

"The only way I can be effective for our team is being healthy and knowing that I can do something for our team," Tate said. "Right now, I can't change directions or really guard anybody. The pain is horrible.

"Hopefully, things can turn around in the next couple of weeks."

...why is it that only the first sentence of all of Tate's quotes matters? Regardless of what he wants to do with his life after school, if he can't play well, he can't play. You saw what he looked like against jNW. It was agonizing. He couldn't jump, had no post moves other than "stationary ball fake," and was about as useless as Jarryd Cole when Cole first came back from the ACL tear.

In fact, I'll go so far as to promise you this: nobody wants Tate back on that court and running more than himself. He knows he's not contributing when his team needs him the most, and if you've ever been in that situation or something like it, you know what a sick, horrible feeling it causes. Nobody wants to be a letdown.

Today is the 6-week anniversary of Tate's injury; high ankle sprains usually heal in a minimum of six weeks. That Tate tried to come back in four against jNW was some mix of admirable and stupid. If that aggravated the injury to the point that he's got another week on the shelf, well, we could see that. The doctors just granted him medical clearance, and we'll bet Tate tries to get some court work in today, evaluate his ankle tonight and tomorrow, and go from there. If it hurts too much today to be effective, back to the bench. If the pain doesn't comes back until the next day, fine: keep him resting on Saturday and evaluate on Sunday.

Look: Everyone wants Tate back out there. But high ankle sprains are bad, bad news, and it could be March before he's back to playing a full game. That's the reality of it. Going Internet Tough Guy! on the players, however, is barely better than booing, and I'd like to think that most Hawkeye fans are a little better than that.

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